Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott said Wednesday he appreciates the opportunity to return to the field after a New York federal judge granted him a temporary restraining order on his six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations.
The 22-year-old Elliott was not allowed to be at The Star, the Cowboys' team headquarters, until a U.S. district judge in New York made his ruling Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, the Elliott went through practice with his teammates in preparation for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif.
"Appreciate the opportunity to go out here and get a couple more weeks with these guys for sure," Elliott said Wednesday after practice, via the Dallas Morning News, "and I have an opportunity to have an even longer TRO. So honestly, just happy to be able to play this week."
Elliott can stay on the field at least until another hearing and court ruling before or by Oct. 30.
"When you get accused of something of that magnitude, you kind of get labeled as an abuser," Elliott said, "and that's just not me -- that's not how I want to be seen or how I want to represent my family. It's just important for me to fight."
The NFL won a court battle last Thursday when a three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans vacated by a 2-1 vote the earlier injunction blocking the six-game suspension imposed on Elliott.
As a result of that ruling, the NFL reinstated Elliott's six-game suspension, and it appeared Elliott would be sitting out the next six games until Tuesday's ruling.
Elliott was not allowed to practice or play and could not have contact with any of the team's coaches while the suspension remained in place.
The NFL Players Association on Monday filed a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in a New York court on behalf of Elliott.
Elliott said he appreciates the support of the Cowboys and his teammates throughout the legal process.
"It means everything," Elliott said. "We're a very close group and that's what family is for, brothers are for, just to reach out when you're in need. And my teammates have done a great job just picking me up when I'm down and making sure that I'm able to stay focused and be the running back I need to be for this team."
Elliott received a six-game suspension from the NFL on Aug. 11 when he was found to be in violation of the league's personal-conduct policy. Elliott, who was not arrested or charged in the case, maintains his innocence after being accused of assaulting his former girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, in Columbus, Ohio.
The original punishment was issued by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after a 13-month league investigation.
The ban was upheld by arbitrator Harold Henderson on Sept. 6, but Elliott received a restraining order two days later allowing him to continue to play.
Elliott has rushed for 393 yards and two touchdowns on 105 carries in five games while his case was in the court system. As a rookie last season, he led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards.
"It's a little tiring but that's what you have a legal team for," Elliott said Wednesday, "and it's not really my job to worry about it. I trust the guys that work for me and I let them do the job.
"You just take it day by day, there's been so many ups and downs, lefts and rights, you really don't know what's coming up next."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he spoke with Elliott on Tuesday night after the latest court ruling.
"For us it's really been status quo," Garrett told reporters Wednesday. "Control what we can control and that's been our approach all along. We think Zeke's done an excellent job of focusing on what he needs to do. We certainly try to do that as a football team. So nothing's really changed from our perspective."