Looking More Likely Ezekiel Elliott Will Be Suspended to Start 2017

Matthew Jordan

Monday, July 17, 2017 2:00 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 17, 2017 2:00 PM UTC

The Dallas Cowboys report to training camp this week, and one big story line looming over the team is a potential suspension to star second-year running back Ezekiel Elliott. Bettors should start planning on Dallas being without him at least a game or two.

Trouble Finds Zeke

Running back Ezekiel Elliott was a monster at Ohio State, a big reason the Buckeyes won the first-ever College Football Playoff. However, if there was one knock on him coming out of college it was that Elliott like to be the life of the party, so to speak. So there were some off-field warning flags.

The Cowboys took him No. 4 overall last year regardless and Elliott had the greatest season for a rookie running back in Cowboys history and one of the best in league annals with 1,631 yards (first in league) and 15 touchdowns rushing (third). He also caught 32 balls for 363 yards and a score. Those numbers normally win you Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in a landslide, but that award went to his fourth-round teammate and quarterback Dak Prescott.

Unfortunately for Elliott and the Cowboys, some off-field issues have followed him. He is under NFL investigation stemming from a 2016 domestic violence accusation against him. Elliott’s camp is set to respond soon to what the NFL found so any punishment can be handed down. The league doesn’t mess around with domestic violence these days – after the Ray Rice fiasco -- and many believed Elliott was looking a one- or two-game suspension. The NFL can suspend a player even without legal charges being filed.  The baseline NFL suspension for domestic violence is six games, though Commissioner Roger Goodell has leeway.

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Well, this won’t help his case: Elliott was involved in a Sunday night incident at Clutch Bar in Dallas, although no chargers have been field as of this writing. TMZ is reporting that Elliott broke the nose of a man with a punch in an altercation.

Remember, too, that back at a St. Patrick’s Day parade, Elliott was video pulling at the top of a woman’s shirt and exposed her breast. Nothing from a legal standpoint came of that, but the NFL is going to take all of these issues into consideration when deciding a suspension. Last August before his first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, Elliott was spotted at a marijuana dispensary. That didn’t make owner Jerry Jones happy. The guy is clearly a bit immature.

The Cowboys open the season Sept. 10 against the NFC East rival New York Giants and play at the Denver Broncos the following week. Dallas opened as high as -5.5 vs. the Giants, but that number has dropped to 4 at some books because of a possible pending suspension.

A suspension could also affect some individual props on Elliott. For example, he’s the +350 second-favorite at Bovada to lead the NFL in rushing but obviously missing a game or two would hurt his chances. Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell, a man who knows about suspensions, is the +300 favorite. Elliott is +2000 to win NFL MVP.

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