Ezekiel Elliott’s legal team makes move that could delay running back’s suspension

Less than 24 hours after the NFL reinstated Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension, Elliott’s legal team has come firing back with a courtroom maneuver that could see the running back reinstated. 

The NFL Players Association has filed a petition to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals asking for a full review — or en banc review — of Elliott’s case. The filing from the NFLPA comes just one day after the Fifth Circuit ruled in the NFL’s favor and vacated the preliminary injunction that Elliott was granted in Texas. 

Elliott had been allowed to play so far this season because U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant handed down a preliminary injunction in his Texas courtroom Sept. 9 that prevented the NFL from suspending Elliott until his case made its way through the court system. 

After the Fifth Circuit vacated that decision, the NFL announced that Elliott’s six-game suspension would start immediately. The NFLPA’s latest move would potentially make Elliott eligible to play until the case goes through the legal system. 

With the request now in place, Elliott’s fate is in the hands of the Fifth Circuit. If the 15 judges in the Fifth Circuit agree to hear the en banc, then Elliott will be eligible to play until they reach their final decision. However, if the judges on the Fifth Circuit refuse to rehear the case, then Elliott’s suspension will stand. 

The bad news for Elliott is that the Fifth Circuit isn’t exactly known for granting en banc rehearings. 

The court is only supposed to agree to en banc rehearing if it involves a case of “exceptional public importance,” and it’s not clear if the suspension of an NFL running back would qualify under that description. 

If the case does move forward, the NFL and NFLPA would once again present their cases, but this time in front of the 15 active judges of the Fifth Circuit. At that point, the winning side would need eight judges to agree with them. 

The decision that went against Elliott on Thursday was handed down by three judges on the Fifth Circuit, who ruled against him in a 2-1 decision.

You can read more about the Fantasy aspects of the Elliott situation here.

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