Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will be suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season under the NFL's domestic violence policy, the NFL announced Friday.
Among the games Elliott will miss include Dallas' Week 1 matchup with the New York Giants, Week 3 game against the Arizona Cardinals and Week 5 game against the Green Bay Packers.
A former girlfriend of Elliott reportedly accused him of assaulting her multiple times in a span of a week in July 2016, however charges were reportedly not filed against Elliott.
"Even when a player is not charged with a crime, 'he may still be found to have violated the [league's personal conduct] policy if the credible evidence establishes that he engaged in conduct prohinited by this Personal Conduct Policy," the NFL wrote in a letter to Elliott.
"Based on the entire record, the credible evidence establishes that on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016, you used physical force against Ms. [Tiffany] Thompson resulting in her injury."
League investigators interviewed more than 12 witnesses, examined photographs, text messages and other records of communication, and consulted with two medical experts to analyze the injuries Elliott's ex-girlfriend sustained, according to the league. Commissioner Roger Goodell also sought the views of four external advisors in determining Elliott's punishment.
"After reviewing the record, and having considered the views of the independent advisors," the league wrote in a letter to Elliott, "the commissioner determined that the credible evidence established that Elliott engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy."
"... Todd Jones, the NFL's Special Counsel for Conduct, said these advisors "were of the view that there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016," the league released in a statement.
Among other players to be suspended under the NFL's personal conduct policy regarding domestic violence incidents include Ray Rice (two games then indefinite), Greg Hardy (10 games, reduced to four), Jonathan Dwyer (three games), Rodney Austin (six games), Derrick Coleman (four games) and Josh Brown (one game).
The NFL also acknowledged Elliott's behavior in a March 2017 incident that was captured on video in which he pulled down a woman's shirt at a St. Patrick's Day parade was taken into account separately from the domestic violence incident.
Elliott may appeal the suspension within three days. If he does not appeal or if his suspension is upheld, he would be eligible to return for Dallas' Week 8 matchup against the Washington Redskins.
Elliott, 22, ran for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns as a rookie last season for Dallas. In two games against the Giants, he totaled 158 rushing yards and one touchdown. The Cowboys list Darren McFadden as their No. 2 running back, Alfred Morris No. 3 and Ronnie Hillman No. 4.