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Rick Zamperin: The Ezekiel Elliott suspension saga is over… finally

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has dropped an appeal of his suspension.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has dropped an appeal of his suspension. AP Photo/David Richard

Finally, the Ezekiel Elliott suspension saga is over.

The talented, but troubled, Dallas Cowboys running back has officially decided to put his legal issues behind him, announcing Wednesday that he will no longer appeal his suspension in the best interests of his friends, family and teammates.

Elliott’s agents say that just because he dropped his appeal doesn’t mean he’s guilty and “is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing.”

READ MORE: NFL players’ union slams Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for threatening to bench players

In case you have forgotten, and odds are you have, this ordeal began in July 2016 when a former girlfriend accused Elliott of domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio.

And even though authorities did not press charges against Elliott, the NFL conducted a lengthy investigation and said it had evidence that Elliott committed domestic violence, and instituted a six-game suspension.

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Elliott has maintained his innocence throughout.

The decision ends a long, and at times, frustrating appeals process and ultimately means he will sit out the Cowboys’ next five games.

He won’t play at home versus the Eagles, Chargers and Redskins and will sit out games on the road against the Giants and Raiders.

Elliott is eligible to return for Dallas’ Week 16 game on Christmas Eve against Seattle and will also get to play in the season finale in Philadelphia.

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At 5-4, and very much in the NFC playoff hunt, Elliott’s suspension is really going to hurt America’s Team.

Without Elliott, arguably Dallas’ best player, the Cowboys are a little more one-dimensional and teams with good defences will make them pay.

How many games can Dallas expect to win?

If they top out at nine, I don’t think it will be enough to get into the playoffs.