NFL owners reportedly pressuring Roger Goodell to suspend Cowboys' Zeke Elliott

The Ezekiel Elliott investigation continues to linger over the Cowboys 2017 season, with everyone holding their breath and wondering what the league office will decide to do, and when the league office will decide to do it. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has been reporting for nearly a year now that a suspension is a likely outcome, and the drumbeat for Elliott to miss time has gotten louder in recent weeks. 

Many are expecting some kind of suspension for the 2016 NFL leading rusher, primarily because of all the different incidents that have popped up this offseason. Elliott had a March incident where he pulled down a woman's top at a parade and was at the scene of an incident at a Dallas bar late one night in July where a physical altercation took place (Dallas police have since suspended that investigation).

According to Dan Patrick on radio Thursday, that accumulation is a problem for Elliott. But there is a bigger problem brewing, Patrick reported in a very interesting segment on his radio show. There is a faction of owners out there who are pressuring NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to punish Elliott in some form or fashion because of previous punishments handed out to other teams. 

"This is what's happening with Ezekiel Elliott right now, I was told yesterday. There are other owners -- this happens every single day I was told, because I said how often do owners rat on other owners, and I was told every day," Patrick said. "Somebody has something to say that someone is getting away with something."

According to Patrick, the Elliott situation is a combination of several things. There is the Terrelle Pryor situation -- Pryor was suspended by the NFL for something he did in college -- and there is the Patriots situation -- owners were coming to the NFL about pursuing punishment of Tom Brady for the Deflategate incident -- and there is the general domestic violence approach of the league.

"He's going to get punished for something that happened at Ohio State, he was not charged for it, with sexual assault, but he's going to be suspended maybe one or two games. What is happening is other owners are saying to the commissioner, hey, you punished us, make sure you punish the Cowboys here," Patrick said. "That's sort of what's going on behind the scenes. And I said, if you're the players association ... asking this person, does he know if the players association would stand up on Ezekiel Elliott's behalf? That's the key. If Ezekiel Elliott's agent is going to say, one game and we're done with this. If the players' association wants to argue and say, hey, he shouldn't be suspended at all -- he wasn't even an employ of the league and you're suspending him. What is happening is, this happened with the Patriots, some of these owners, but not all of them, owners said, what a minute here, what are you doing with the Patriots here? That's how it blew up."

The fascinating part of this is that Elliott would probably be cruising scot-free if this was a vacuum. Roger Goodell does not want to punish a guy who is rapidly becoming one of the faces of the league. Elliott isn't just a talented runner, he is also a charming personality, a guy who looked like he was having fun playing football as he and the Cowboys rampaged through opposing defenses in 2016. 

Jerry Jones himself has already acknowledged the situation is "not good" and plenty of folks are speaking out about Elliott's troubles

Elliott remains under investigation by the NFL, which hardly seems inclined to press the matter when it comes to timing. But there has been a discussion of Elliott missing mandated time for nearly a year now. There is far too much smoke on this situation for it simply to be resolved by the NFL deciding that there's nothing to see here, move along people. 

At this point it may simply be a matter of politics in the league presenting the kind of pressure that Goodell cannot ignore, and the commissioner being forced to negotiate some kind of suspension with Elliott through his agents. 

Even if it ends up being just a game or two, it would almost be a surprise to see Elliott not suspended at this point. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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