Jerry Jones is right; the never ending Ezekiel Elliott legal odyssey continues to be incredibly ambiguous. However, the end of this crooked road could be coming, soon.
Friday’s decision to freeze the status quo temporarily, allowing Elliott to face the Chiefs, will lead to three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit taking up soon (likely next week) the question of whether Elliott’s suspension should be delayed while the appeal of the denial of a preliminary injunction is considered. If the three-judge “motions panel” agrees to delay the suspension while the appeal of the denial of the injunction proceeds, Elliott will play at least until the appeal of the denial of the injunction is resolved.
If the three-judge motions panel declines the motion to delay the suspension pending appeal, Elliott will be required to sit until the appeal of the ruling against an injunction is resolved. Which means that he could miss some games while he waits for a three-judge appeals panel to rule on whether Judge Katherine Polk Failla erred when she refused to give Elliott an injunction blocking his suspension while the lawsuit proceeds.
Barring a settlement (which is highly unlikely), the three-judge appeals panel eventually will decide whether Judge Failla got it right. If Elliott wins the appeal, the remaining games of the suspension would be blocked until the case regarding the legality of the suspension ends.
At that point, the NFL would still have the ability to throw a 100-yard Hail Mary and try to get the Supreme Court to reinstitute the suspension while the case proceeds. But the far more likely outcome would be that Elliott plays for the rest of the year, with the possibility of avoiding the suspension altogether, if he can ultimately win on the question of whether he shouldn’t have been suspended in the first place.
To summarize, he plays this week. Next, three judges will decide whether he plays until three judges decide whether Judge Failla got it wrong. Then, three judges will decide whether Judge Failla got it wrong. Eventually, Judge Failla will decide whether the NFL improperly suspended Elliott, subject to multiple layers and levels of appeal.
So, basically, get comfortable.