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Ezekiel Elliott: Cowboys running back still suspended for six games but will play in Week 1

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Zeke out.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is still set to serve a six-game suspension during the 2017 NFL season after his appeal was denied by arbitrator Harold Henderson. ESPN was first to report the news.

But just because Elliott is suspended for six games does not mean he’ll be out this Sunday for the Cowboys’ Week 1 game against the New York Giants. ESPN also reports Elliott will be able to play against New York due to the timing of Henderson’s ruling.

Elliott’s suspension due to a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy was first announced back in early August. The league had been investigating Elliott for over a year due to accusations of domestic violence. The Cowboys running back has been fighting the ruling through appeals since it became official. The drama likely isn’t over yet. Elliott will continue to legally dispute the NFL’s ruling.

Elliott’s absence is obviously very bad news for Dallas. The No. 4 overall pick from the 2016 NFL Draft is clearly a vital player to the Cowboys’ success. Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns as a rookie last season. His presence made life easier on Dak Prescott, who attempted the third fewest passes of any starting quarterback last season.

The fact that Elliott will be able to play in Week 1 is amusing for Philadelphia Eagles fans because it probably pisses off Giants fans while Cowboys fans are still ultimately irked as well. It might be good that Elliott is playing this Sunday night because the Cowboys couldn’t beat the Giants last year even when they had him active.

Assuming Elliott’s suspension kicks in during Week 2, here’s a look at the following games he’ll miss.

Week 2 - at Denver Broncos

Week 3 - at Arizona Cardinals

Week 4 - vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 5 - vs. Green Bay Packers

Week 6 - BYE

Week 7 - at San Francisco 49ers

Week 8 - at Washington Redskins

There are some potentially tough games in that stretch. Four contests are on the road, only one is an AFC game, and one game is against a division rival.

Unless his suspension gets pushed back even further, Elliott will still be able to suit up when the Philadelphia Eagles play the Cowboys in Week 11 and Week 17.

The Cowboys were already poised to take a step back in 2017. The loss of Elliott certainly does nothing to help them.