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Ezekiel Elliott files appeal to six-game suspension

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  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
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Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott officially filed his notice of appeal to the six-game suspension he received last week for violating the league's personal conduct policy, the NFL Players Association announced Tuesday.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has appointed Harold Henderson to hear Elliott's suspension appeal, the NFL announced Wednesday. Henderson, who has served as an appeals officer since 2008, heard Greg Hardy's domestic violence appeal in 2015, when the former NFL defensive end's suspension was reduced from 10 to four games.

Elliott's appeal hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 29, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.

The appeal filing comes four days after Goodell suspended Elliott after a year-long domestic violence investigation by the league determined there is "substantial" evidence that he assaulted a woman identifying herself as his former girlfriend.

A portion of Elliott's appeal argument will revolve around the credibility of his ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, those familiar with it told Rapoport. Elliott's legal team will attempt to show that the NFL's suspension did not accurately weigh that factor in making its decision.

Reporters asked Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about Elliott's appeal following Tuesday's practice, but Jones declined to weigh in.

"I don't have anything to say about any of the appeal or anything about that issue today," Jones told NFL Network's James Palmer. "But certainly I'll be visiting with you guys about it in the future. But right now today is just not the time for me to talk about it."

Elliott's six-game ban stems solely from the league's investigation into the domestic violence allegations made by Thompson in July 2016, a league source told Pelissero. In a statement released by the league, Todd Jones, the NFL's Special Counsel for Conduct, said independent advisers who reviewed the evidence gathered by the league "were of the view that there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016."

Elliott, 22, has denied the accusations. He was never arrested or charged in the matter.

On Monday, Rapoport and Pelissero reported Elliott accused Thompson of harassment in a filing with Texas police in September. Frisco Police Sgt. Jeff Inmon told Pelissero the harassment case is no longer under active investigation.

Goodell was aware of the harassment filing when forming his suspension decision, but Elliott's legal team hopes to highlight it in their appeal, according to Rapoport.

If Elliott's full suspension is upheld on appeal, he would be barred from taking part in any team activities starting on Sept. 2. He wouldn't be eligible to play until the team's Week 8 contest against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 29.

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