Ezekiel Elliott

NFL Notes: Court sets hearing over blocked suspension of Ezekiel Elliott

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NFL Notes: Court sets hearing over blocked suspension of Ezekiel Elliott

FRISCO, Texas -- A federal appeals court has set oral arguments for Oct. 2 in the NFL's bid to reinstate Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension over a domestic case in Ohio, meaning the star Dallas Cowboys running back will play at least two more games.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans posted the notice Friday, clearing the way for last year's NFL rushing leader to play Monday night at Arizona and at home Oct. 1 against the Los Angeles Rams.

The court is seeking briefs from both sides by Wednesday on the issue of U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant's jurisdiction. The Texas judge granted Elliott's request for an injunction that blocked the NFL's suspension.

The NFL sought an emergency stay of Mazzant's injunction, hoping to put the suspension back in place while Elliott's case is in the courts.

Giants: Goodson, Hart out against Eagles
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Middle linebacker B.J. Goodson and right tackle Bobby Hart are going to miss the New York Giants game Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Goodson is out for the second straight game with a shin injury. Hart sprained his right ankle in the opener against Dallas. He started against Detroit but re-injured it.

Coach Ben McAdoo said Friday that backup linebacker J.T. Thomas also is out with a groin injury.

Tight end Evan Engram (concussion) and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle) are questionable for the Giants (0-2).

Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is not mentioned on the injury report, which means that he will play. He missed the season opener with a sprained left ankle and was limited against the Lions.

Vikings: Bradford ruled out against Bucs
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings say quarterback Sam Bradford will not play against Tampa Bay because of his ailing left knee.

Bradford was not at practice Friday after taking part in a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday and reporting progress from the week before.

ESPN reported that Bradford was traveling to seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist who performed ligament reconstructions on the quarterback's knee in 2013 and 2014. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer declined to comment on the report.

Case Keenum will start Sunday against the Buccaneers, as he did last week at Pittsburgh when Bradford was ruled out right before the game. The Vikings lost 26-9 (see full story).

Titans: Murray limited at practice, questionable vs. Seahawks
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray returned to practice, but his status for Sunday's game against Seattle remains undecided because of a hamstring injury.

Murray was listed as questionable after being limited on Friday. He had missed two straight practices with the injury.

The running back who led the AFC in rushing last season has been off to a slow start this season with just 69 yards rushing in two games. He gave way in the second half to Derrick Henry, who had 92 yards and a touchdown in a 37-16 victory at Jacksonville.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey says the Titans are being careful with Murray. They already declared rookie receiver Corey Davis and strong safety Johnathan Cyprien out with hamstring injuries.

Murray declined to comment after practice (see full story).

Browns: Garrett 'doubtful' to play Colts but nearing return
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett might be close to making his NFL debut.

The top overall pick in this year's draft has missed Cleveland's first two games because of a high right-ankle sprain. Coach Hue Jackson has not yet ruled him out of Sunday's game at Indianapolis.

Garrett made significant progress this week after hurting his ankle during practice Sept. 6. Jackson said Friday the team will continue to be "cautious," but the fact that he remains a possibility to play against the Colts is encouraging. Garrett is listed as "doubtful" on the injury report.

The 6-foot-4, 275-pounder has stressed he won't come back too early. He missed two games during his junior season at Texas A&M, pushed himself to return and then didn't play up to his standards.

Garrett had an impressive training camp and exhibition season (see full story).

Redskins: Norman, Reed game-time decisions vs. Raiders
ASHBURN, Va. -- Cornerback Josh Norman, tight end Jordan Reed and running back Rob Kelley are among five Washington Redskins players who will be game-time decisions Sunday night against the Oakland Raiders.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden says Friday that Norman, Reed, Kelley, linebacker Mason Foster and safety Montae Nicholson are all questionable for the game.

Norman, Foster and Nicholson have shoulder injuries, Reed has chest and rib problems, while Kelley is dealing with injured rib cartilage.

All five were hurt during last weekend's 27-20 victory at the Los Angeles Rams.

Gruden said there is a chance the Redskins (1-1) would have running back Mack Brown and tight end Jeremy Sprinkle on the active roster against the Raiders (2-0) (see full story).

NFL Notes: Texans LB Brian Cushing suspended 10 games for PEDs

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NFL Notes: Texans LB Brian Cushing suspended 10 games for PEDs

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has been suspended for 10 games by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

It's the second time Cushing has been suspended; he missed four games in 2010 under the same policy, testing positive for a fertility drug. Cushing had won 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year, an honor which was jeopardized by the suspension. He kept the award after a revote by The Associated Press' awards panel.

Currently in the NFL's concussion protocol after being injured in Houston's opening loss to Jacksonville, Cushing will be eligible to return on Nov. 28.

Cushing has had a checkered career since his sensational rookie season. Injuries curtailed the 2012 and `13 seasons, when he got into a total of 12 games. He's never come close to matching his first-year production of 86 tackles, 47 assists, four sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and 10 passes defensed.

The 2009 defensive rookie revote came after Cushing tested positive for HCG, a fertility drug that is on the NFL's banned substance list. He had one positive test from a urine sample taken in September 2009, then subsequently tested negative several times (see full story).

Cowboys: NFL trying to speed appeal over blocked Elliott ban
FRISCO, Texas -- The NFL is trying to accelerate the timeline in its appeal of a federal judge's injunction that blocked Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension over a domestic violence case.

The NFL quickly answered a filing from Elliott's attorneys Wednesday, telling U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant that the league would immediately go to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans if he didn't rule on its request for a stay of his injunction by Thursday.

The legal maneuverings are unlikely to keep last year's NFL rushing leader from playing Sunday at Denver. He had already been cleared to play in a season-opening win over the New York Giants before Mazzant granted his request for an injunction.

The NFL had until Friday to respond to arguments from Elliott's camp against Mazzant rescinding his own order blocking the suspension. In that scenario, Mazzant wouldn't have ruled until next week (see full story).

Dolphins: Stills calls for athletes to support Kaepernick
OXNARD, Calif. -- Kenny Stills wants to know why more athletes aren't standing with Colin Kaepernick.

The Miami Dolphins receiver has restated his questions from a series of tweets Tuesday questioning the support across sports for Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback currently out of football after his protests during the national anthem last season.

"I just feel like the league, it's majority African-American, and you would think more people would come to have one of our guys' back," Stills said Wednesday.

"We talk about the NFL being a brotherhood," Stills added. "They give us this presentation every year about the NFL being a brotherhood, and (if) something wrong is going on to one of your brothers, I feel like we should be there to have his back and speak up for him."

Stills spoke after practice in Oxnard, where the Dolphins are spending the week ahead of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers. They traveled to the West Coast early due to Hurricane Irma's devastation of South Florida.

Kaepernick spoke up against police abuses and racial injustices last season, sparking many players to join him in activism. Those players included Stills, who knelt during the national anthem along with three teammates.

Stills had previously said he won't take a knee this year, but said Wednesday that he might re-evaluate his plans.

Giants: Manning not worried about offense
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Fourteen seasons in the NFL have taught Eli Manning not to make too much of one game.

Sure, the New York Giants' offense was pathetic in a season-opening 19-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

The statistics screamed bad game: three points, 233 total yards, 35 on the ground, 53 total plays, just under 26 minutes of possession, three sacks. It was awful, and even missing leading receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with a sprained ankle was no excuse for such a performance.

There was blame to go around a couple of times, from the offensive line to the wideouts who could not get open.

Manning was quick to answer when asked if he was worried about the offense, which also struggled last season despite an 11-5 record.

"First game," the two-time Super Bowl MVP said. "Guys were playing fast, got some good guys out there, some new bodies. So, we'll bounce back. We'll be fine. We just have to slow down, everybody take a breath and just run the plays the way we've been running them all spring and all summer."

Chiefs: Smith shrugs off win, turns focus to Eagles
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A year ago, all four of Kansas City's regular-season losses came after big wins. Big wins like the Chiefs' rout of New England last week to open their season.

Two of those losses came at Arrowhead Stadium, which will be the site of Sunday's game against Philadelphia. The Eagles opened their season with a 30-17 win over Washington.

For quarterback Alex Smith, word that he was the AFC's offensive player of the week after the upset of the Patriots brought only a brief smile.

"I just think that if you play long enough you realize how quick things can change," Smith said Wednesday. "One week everybody's raving about you and how quickly it can flip if you drink the Kool-Aid."

Smith finished the opener 28-of-35 passing for 368 yards and four touchdowns, but that's old news to him and the rest of the Chiefs.

"Certainly it's nice but at this point I feel like preparations are already begun on the Eagles," he said. "I've certainly seen teams where they play really good and they're feel so good about themselves and walk into the next week and get smacked in the mouth."

Vikings: Captain Bradford now comfortable as leader 
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Sam Bradford has been named one of the Minnesota Vikings' captains, an obviously natural selection as the quarterback.

This is the first time for Bradford serving in that role on the field since 2013 with St. Louis, though, thanks to an injury and two trades. Finally settled after that whirlwind season in 2016 for the Vikings, Bradford has the comfort in his surroundings to help foster the high level of leadership that his position demands.

"It means a lot, and I take a lot of pride in it," Bradford said. "I think there's a lot of responsibility that comes with that and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure to live up to that."

The 29-year-old's performance in the opener Monday against New Orleans sure looked like that of the franchise player.

"I said this offseason that this would be a big year for Sam," said tight end Kyle Rudolph, who caught one of the three touchdown passes. "I wasn't surprised."

The first pick in the 2010 draft by St. Louis, Bradford never truly found his footing there with some weak supporting casts and major injuries that squelched his progress. He didn't play in his final season with the Rams because of a torn ACL in his right knee for a second straight year. Then he was dealt to Philadelphia in 2015 and to Minnesota in 2016. Setting the NFL record for completion percentage last season was quite the accomplishment considering he arrived eight days before the opener.

Redskins: Cousins aims to rebound vs. mentor
ASHBURN, Va. -- When Sean McVay left the Washington Redskins to coach the Los Angeles Rams, Kirk Cousins signed a jersey for him with a poignant message.

"I owe you my career."

During McVay's three seasons as offensive coordinator and two as play-caller, Cousins became a full-time NFL starting quarterback and set and broke the franchise record for passing yards. Now Cousins is trying to rebound from a rough season opener against one of the coaches who knows him the best.

"There is a familiarity there and that does present a challenge, as you'd imagine, with knowing what makes the offense go, not only the scheme but the personnel, and so we've got to be aware of that and plan accordingly," Cousins said Wednesday. "If we can run our plays very detailed and be disciplined in the way we execute, usually that can overcome familiarity. But certainly if we don't execute well, it certainly gives them the opportunity to capitalize."

Last week in an opening home loss to the Eagles, Cousins was 20 of 43 for 240 yards with a touchdown, an interception and two fumbles. The interception at the goal line was a turning point in the game, and his sack-fumble that was returned for a touchdown essentially ended it.

Cousins said if McVay were still around he'd have the same advice as coach Jay Gruden, offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh and quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell. But McVay also was always the coach who told Cousins in good times and bad: "I believe in you."

NFL moving quickly to reverse halt on Ezekiel Elliott's 6-game ban

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NFL moving quickly to reverse halt on Ezekiel Elliott's 6-game ban

FRISCO, Texas -- The NFL moved quickly Monday in hopes of reversing a federal judge's decision that has blocked the league's six-game suspension of star Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott over a domestic violence case in Ohio.

The league asked the judge who ruled in Elliott's favor to stop the preliminary injunction that cleared last year's NFL rushing leader to play while the case is in court. A notice of appeal was also filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The NFL's latest filings came about 12 hours after Elliott rushed for 104 yards in the Cowboys' 19-3 season-opening win over the New York Giants at home Sunday night.

"Just relieved from the fact that I finally get a fair trial," Elliott said after the game in his first public comments since before the Cowboys reported for training camp in July. "I finally get a chance to prove my innocence. And I'm just happy I'm able to be with these guys for as long as it's permitted and just not having to miss time and not being away from them."

The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell last month, and attorneys with the NFL Players' Association contended in a lawsuit that Elliott didn't get a fair hearing in an appeal that was denied.

Elliott had already been cleared to play in the season opener when U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant granted a temporary restraining order and injunction blocking the suspension Friday.

The case could play out for months.

New England quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension over "Deflategate" was delayed by a year when a federal judge ruled in his favor. Brady served the suspension to start last season after an appeals court reversed the ruling and backed Goodell's authority to suspend him.

If Mazzant denies the emergency request to put his own ruling on hold pending further hearings, the NFL could make a similar argument to the appeals court in hopes of getting a hearing within days after Mazzant decides.

Without an NFL win on an emergency request in either court, the timeline likely would clear Elliott to play his entire second season after he led the league in rushing as a rookie.

The case apparently will stay in the Texas court for at least a week after Mazzant gave Elliott's side until Wednesday to respond to the NFL's request for a stay. The NFL would then have until Friday to respond to arguments from Elliott's legal team before Mazzant rules on the motion, presumably next week.

"It may be difficult for the NFL to convince the 5th Circuit that this is truly an emergency," said Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane University Law School. "The argument here is that the NFL could later enforce the suspension."

Elliott was suspended by Goodell in August after the league concluded he had several physical confrontations last summer with Tiffany Thompson, a former girlfriend. Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided about a year ago not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence.

The NFL kept its investigation open, and said its conclusions were based on photographs, text messages and other electronic evidence. The league has argued that it acted within the parameters of a labor agreement that gives Goodell broad authority to suspend players. The league also said the appeal process was consistent with its personal conduct policy.

"As far as the argument to the court of appeals, we think the scope and review in labor arbitration is very limited and we believe the judge went well beyond what is permitted as far as scope," NFL vice president of communications Joe Lockhart said.

Mazzant's ruling took aim at appeal hearing officer Harold Henderson and the NFL, saying decisions not to allow Goodell and Thompson to testify at the appeal were among several factors unfair to Elliott. The running back denied the allegations under oath during the appeal.

The judge also faulted the league for what he saw as several efforts to conceal the opinion of co-lead investigator Kia Roberts. She testified at the appeal that she didn't think Thompson was credible and didn't support any punishment for Elliott.

Three years ago, the NFL stiffened penalties in domestic violence cases after getting sharply criticized for its handling of former Baltimore running back Ray Rice.

Elliott had 1,631 yards rushing last season, helping Dallas to the best record in the NFC at 13-3. He had another 36 yards receiving in the opener against the Giants as the Cowboys beat the NFC East rival that swept them last season.