OXNARD, Calif. – The most pressing question of the entire summer, if not much longer than that, appears to have been answered.
And it certainly wasn't what the Cowboys were hoping for.
After more than a year of investigating, reports broke Friday morning indicating that the NFL finally levied a suspension on Ezekiel Elliott, giving the superstar running back six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Just last week in Canton, Ohio, the day before Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he told reporters he didn't anticipate Elliott getting suspended at all. Earlier, at the beginning of training camp, Jones said in the team's opening press conference that he had "reviewed everything and there is absolutely nothing – not one thing – that had anything to do with domestic violence."
The NFL's leading rusher in 2016, Elliott has definitely had his share of headlines since being drafted No. 4 overall by the Cowboys last spring. Some of those have been for the on-field talents that earned him All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors with 1,994 all-purpose yards, the third-most by a rookie in NFL history.
But there have also been several off-field incidents that the NFL deemed to be too many.
In March, the running back was videotaped at a St. Patrick's Day parade in Dallas pulling down a woman's top. Back in early July, a few weeks before the start of camp, Elliott was at a club when a DJ was punched in the face. While witnesses varied on their stories, with some even accusing Elliott of the actual assault, the police filed no charges, citing lack of evidence.
Elliott now leaps to the top of the list of suspended Cowboys players, joining David Irving, who will get four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. Damontre' Moore will get two games for a substance-abuse arrest he incurred before signing with the Cowboys in March.
There is also Randy Gregory, who is currently a serving a year-long suspension for repeated violations to the substance-abuse policy.
But none of them will have the impact as Elliott, who teamed up with Dak Prescott to form one of the best rookie duos in NFL history.
According to NFL guidelines, Elliott has three days to file an appeal with the league office. From there, a hearing must be scheduled within 10 days of the receipt of the appeal.
Assuming there is no reduction of the suspension, Elliott is currently slated to miss the Cowboys' games against the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers.