OXNARD, Calif. (AP) – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says “everything’s in place” for an NFL decision over a possible suspension of Ezekiel Elliott and that his star running back met recently with league officials.
Elliott, the NFL rushing leader last season as a rookie, could be suspended over a domestic incident with his then-girlfriend last year even though prosecutors in Ohio declined to pursue the case. The league has been investigating for more than a year.
Jones said Saturday night that Elliott met with officials in New York within the past month but declined to say whether Commissioner Roger Goodell was involved.
“They have had their hearing,” Jones said after practice at training camp. “They have had all of the responses. Everything’s in place to make a decision. I think anything is discretionary at any time where you can ask for more meetings, whether it’s the league or whether it’s Zeke.”
Elliott also was involved in a bar fight in Dallas a week before training camp but wasn’t named in a police report about the incident. The report said a 30-year-old man was punched in the nose and hospitalized.
Goodell has the authority to suspend players without convictions under the league’s personal conduct policy. The NFL amended the policy three years ago to strengthen punishments in domestic cases.
A police report in Columbus, Ohio, where Elliott starred for Ohio State, said Elliott denied allegations that he assaulted his then-girlfriend last July, causing bruises and abrasions.
Three witnesses told police they didn’t see Elliott assault the 20-year-old woman. Elliott said the woman got the bruises and abrasions in a bar fight.
Jones’ latest comments came two days after he said on a national radio show that he thought a decision on Elliott was “imminent.”
“I certainly don’t have any idea what day,” Jones said Saturday. “But I know that the investigation and all the work there is, I would say is, pretty complete or they wouldn’t have had a hearing.”
Jones strongly backed Elliott in his annual news conference before the start of training camp last weekend, saying several times there was “no domestic violence” based on reports he had seen.
Elliott led the NFL with 1,631 yards rushing and helped the Cowboys to the top seed in the NFC at 13-3 before a divisional playoff loss to Green Bay. He shared the backfield with quarterback Dak Prescott, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
More AP NFL: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL