The NFL Players Association is asking a New York federal judge to block Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension.
It's a move that some legal observers expect will let the Cowboys running back return to the field on Sunday.
The NFL suspended Elliott before the start of the year on domestic violence allegations, though he was never criminally charged. The players’ union foreshadowed it's move in a court filing on Monday, saying it will seek a temporary restraining order from a New York judge.
ESPN is citing sources saying that paperwork is already filed with a hearing slated for Tuesday. Elliott’s legal team has to prove two things. One sports law attorney following the case believes there is a solid shot he'll do it and be back on the field.
The NFL formally informed the Cowboys on Monday that Elliott will not play or practice this week ahead of the Sunday game versus the 49ers. His six-game suspension is back in effect after a panel of judges in New Orleans tossed Elliott's lawsuit. His attorneys are now taking the case to New York to ask a judge there to halt the suspension.
Daniel Wallach is a seasoned sports law attorney who is not involved in the case. He believes there is a strong chance Elliott will be back on the field in time for Sunday’s game.
“If a New York federal court orders that the league be prevented from suspending Ezekiel Elliott, that order can come down Sunday morning, and Elliott will be playing in this week's game,” Wallach said.
Elliott's attorneys will have to prove that he is likely to succeed in arguing that his suspension was not fundamentally fair. He will also have to prove that he will suffer irreparable harm if a judge does not grant a restraining order ahead of the Sunday game.
“That's a slam dunk for Ezekiel Elliott,” Wallach said. “Because once he is suspended and is forced to miss any amount of games — whether it’s one game or six games — if he were to later win the case on appeal or win at a later stage in the case, he will never be able to get those games returned to him.”
It will all have to play out quickly though. A judge would schedule briefings from both sides and possibly oral arguments. And then, the judge would still need to issue the temporary restraining order.
“Justice moves quickly, but sometimes not as fast as the parties would like,” Wallach said. “So any delay could potentially jeopardize Elliott's eligibility for this Sunday's games.”
Elliott’s attorneys are still challenging the decision made by a panel of judges in New Orleans. Depending what happens there, Elliott's initial lawsuit could be restored. It is another way to restore a court order that allows Elliott to keep playing.