Monday 21st August, 2017
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NFL notebook: Cowboys Elliott suspended 6 games

Sports Xchange - Saturday 12th August, 2017

Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended six games by the NFL on Friday for violating the league's personal conduct policy after multiple domestic violence incidents.

The six-game ban is the penalty for first-time offenders of the league's new domestic violent policy. The suspension is scheduled to begin Sept. 2 and Elliott is eligible to return to the Cowboys' roster on Oct. 23, one day after the team's Week 7 road game against the San Francisco 49ers.

As a result of the suspension, the guarantees in the four-year, $24.956 million deal Elliott signed with Dallas in 2016 will be voided, per ESPN. Elliott will forfeit $559,192 in 2017 salary according to salary cap website Spotrac. In addition, Elliott will give up $240,000 per missed game in signing-bonus money if the suspension is upheld.

Elliott plans to appeal the suspension, his representatives said in a statement. Elliott has three business days to file notice of appeal, and a hearing must be scheduled within 10 days of receipt of the notice, according to Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement, which governs appeal of commissioner discipline.

--Wide receiver Sammy Watkins was traded by the Buffalo Bills to the Los Angeles Rams along with a Bills' 2018 sixth-round draft pick for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick.

Buffalo also traded cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick.

Watkins, 24, was drafted by the Bills with the fourth-overall draft pick in 2014 after Buffalo traded its first- and fourth-round picks in the following draft to the Cleveland Browns to move up the No. 4.

The former Clemson standout has 153 catches for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns in three NFL seasons despite undergoing multiple foot surgeries. Last season, Watkins played in just eight games and totaled 430 yards and two scores on 28 catches.

--Miami Dolphins rookie middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan will miss the entire 2017 season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee during the team's preseason opener on Thursday.

The Dolphins announced the news after Friday's MRI exam displayed the tear.

McMillan was injured when he collided with teammate Deon Lacey when they were covering a punt just three minutes into the contest against the Atlanta Falcons.

McMillan left the field and later returned, sporting crutches and a brace to protect the knee.

--Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will not play in the preseason but is expected to start the regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10, the team announced.

Flacco was re-examined and his progress from a back issue "is good," according to a statement from the team.

The 32-year-old has been sidelined since July 26, when the full team reported to camp.

Veteran backup Ryan Mallett is the starter until Flacco returns. Dustin Vaughan and Josh Woodrum are the other quarterbacks on the roster.

--The Jacksonville Jaguars released Branden Albert, just four days after the two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle informed the team that he had changed his mind about retiring.

Albert was released by the Jaguars from the reserved/retired list. He will go through the waiver process and will become a free agent if no team claims him.

The 32-year-old Albert abruptly retired on July 31, releasing a statement through the club in which he said he aimed to return to Miami to pursue his business interests.

The Jaguars traded their seventh-round pick of the 2018 draft to the Dolphins in March for Albert, who had two seasons remaining on the five-year contract he signed with Miami in 2014. He was due a base salary of $8.9 million in 2017 and $9.6 million in 2018, though none of that money was guaranteed.

--Washington Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy will miss the entire 2017 season after tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee in Thursday's preseason game.

Murphy was previously slated to miss the first four games of the season after being suspended for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The 26-year-old Murphy recorded a career-high nine sacks last season. But the pass-rush specialist won't see the field again until 2018 after suffering the injury against the Baltimore Ravens.

Safety Su'a Cravens also injured a knee during the contest and underwent an MRI exam. Initial reports are that Cravens will miss 2-to-3 weeks.

--Minnesota Vikings running back Bishop Sankey sustained a torn ACL in his right knee and will miss the upcoming season, multiple outlets reported.

Sankey had four carries for 14 yards and reeled in four passes for 15 yards before exiting early in the third quarter of Thursday's preseason opener versus the Buffalo Bills.

The 24-year-old Sankey remained on the field for several minutes before requiring assistance to be helped off the field. An MRI exam confirmed the severity of the injury.

Sankey was listed third on the team's official depth chart behind rookie Dalvin Cook and Jerick McKinnon. Offseason acquisition Latavius Murray is also in the mix after being recently activated from the physically unable to perform list following offseason ankle surgery.

--Despite a small sample size, the Carolina Panthers found enough to digest following their first preseason game to get back to work with a more defined plan.

The Panthers were an incomplete operation if for no other reason it's unclear when quarterback Cam Newton will be back in full action as he has rested his surgically repaired throwing shoulder. But a 27-17 victory against the Houston Texans left a lot of good tastes.

Defense had been a staple of Carolina's good teams in recent years and that's an area that the Panthers are looking to return to form. So even though the first-team unit played for only one series, there was a sense that there could be some dominance.

"I liked what the first unit did right off the bat," coach Ron Rivera said.

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