Dallas Cowboys starting running back Ezekiel Elliott has been Suspended by the NFL for the first six games of the 2017 season after violating the league's personal conduct policy. Elliott was under investigation by the league after his ex-girlfriend claimed he abused her several times during their relationship last year. However, Zeke was not found guilty of the offense but the league believes they have found a substantial amount of evidence during their investigation that suggests he did make physical contact with the victim.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Elliott is expected to appeal the decision by the league.

The appeal will likely be filed by the beginning of next week, as Zeke only has three business days to exercise that option. Elliott and the Cowboys are hoping the league changes its decision, as the regular season begins in just a few weeks. He led the league in rushing this past year in his rookie season. He was a big part of why the Cowboys were able to finish 1st in the NFC with a conference best 13-3 record.

The team was very optimistic about Elliott being suspended leading up to Friday. Just last week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones vowed that his starting running back would not be suspended by the league and he seemed pretty confident. Now, the 2nd year RB will have to watch his team try to recreate the same magic he helped orchestrate last season.

Explanation from the NFL

The NFL chose to inform Zeke and the Cowboys in a letter about their decision to discipline the All-Pro back. In the letter, the NFL's Special Counsel of Conduct, Todd Jones, gave a brief explanation of why they chose to go the route they did.

"After reviewing the record, and having considered the views of the independent advisors, the commissioner determined that the credible evidence established that Elliott engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy."

The league claims they were able to find this information by text messaging and talking with over 12 witnesses.

How will the Cowboys manage without Elliott?

You can imagine that the Cowboys will have a difficult time replacing a guy that put up 1,631 yards on the ground just one season ago. Although Dak Prescott is also expected to have a good sophomore season, it will be hard for him to carry the load by himself. The team was just bouncing back with their run game after losing DeMarco Murray a few seasons ago to division rival the Philadelphia Eagles. Elliott came in last season and was the perfect fit behind one of the best offensive lines in the league.

Now, the team will have to see if one of the three backups that once were 1st string backs in their career can provide some of their old magic. Darren McFadden is expected to replace Zeke while he's out. Backing him up will be Alfred Morris and Ronnie Hillman, who made their mark as members of the Redskins and the Broncos.