The NFL threw down the hammer on the league’s leading rusher from last season, and the impact will definitely be felt by a couple former SEC players.
On Friday, Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott was suspended 6 games for violating the personal conduct policy, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
That means former Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year who made the Pro Bowl in his debut in Dallas, will have to go more than a third of the regular season without someone who racked up 318 more yards on the ground than any other player last season as a rookie.
On the bright side, that also opens the door for former Arkansas RB Darren McFadden to get more playing time. In his first season with Dallas in 2015, McFadden rushed for 1,089 yards to record just the second 1,000-yard season in his nine-year career.
Elliott, the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is expected to appeal the NFL’s decision.
The punishment stems from an investigation that started more than a year ago after an ex-girlfriend accused Elliott of domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio.
It was announced in September that the Columbus City Attorney’s office wouldn’t pursue charges against Elliott due to “conflicting and inconsistent information.” Still, the NFL is within its rights to levy discipline on a player even in the absence of legal charges.
Prescott and Elliott took the league by storm last season, leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC before losing to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round. It was just the second playoff appearance for the franchise in seven seasons.
Prescott had a dazzling debut, completing 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,667 yards, 23 TDs and only 4 INTs.