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Volume 24 No. 178
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Jerry Jones Taking Measured Approach Before Responding To NFL Over Elliott Suspension

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones is "taking a measured approach before firing a shot at the NFL over how the league handled" its investigation into RB Ezekiel Elliott, according to Drew Davison of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Jones said, “I don’t have anything to say about anything with [Commissioner Roger Goodell] or with anything to do with Zeke at this particular time. Still making my plans.” He added, "I just want to get my thoughts together, see some more cards played and just see kind of how this thing turns out. I know that they’ve got a real important date set and want that to have every opportunity it can to have things in its best light. But we certainly are in support of Zeke.” Davison noted Jones would "like to see" what decision arbiter Harold Henderson comes to "before saying too much" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/20). In Dallas, Kate Hairopoulos writes the "acidic events of last week" between the NFL and NFLPA served as "just the opening salvo as both sides responded" to the NFL's decision to suspend Elliott. The fight will "only intensify -- publicly and behind the scenes -- as Elliott's appeal hearing Aug. 29 nears" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/21).

NEEDING TO SHOW DISCIPLINE?
 Goodell is expected to have his contract extended through the '24 season, but FS1's Jason Whitlock said Goodell "needs to repair his image with the players to avoid a work stoppage." Whitlock: "He needs to remove himself from these disciplinary cases that have made him this polarizing figure. He's got to work on his relationship with these players, or we're going to have a work stoppage and that will cost Roger Goodell his job.” FS1’s Kristine Leahy: “Right now he's picking and choosing where he wants to get involved, and when you have a young guy that's going to be a star in the league (in Elliott), you have to be involved with that before you can take the risk.” FS1’s Greg Jennings, who played 10 years in the NFL, said players "don't look at him as a buddy." Jennings said, "He's going to continue to be an adversary to the players, because the players look at him as he works for the owners. When you are a player in this league, you're not looking for Roger Goodell to be buddy-buddy with you because you know whose side he gets his check signed from. He's going to be who he's going to be. I just feel like be consistent. Completely remove yourself, or just say, ‘You know what, I'm going to continue to make every decision, I'm going to bring down the hammer any time I get a chance,’ because that's what he's doing” (“Speak for Yourself,” FS1, 8/18). In Houston, Brian Smith wrote under the header, "For Sake Of NFL Fairness, Roger Goodell Must Be Taken Down A Notch." No one should "hold this much untouchable, God-like power," especially a sports league that still "hasn't figured out how to properly protect the bodies and brains of its own millionaire athletes." Smith: "King Roger Goodell has been judge, jury and executioner for far too long" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/20).

THE BATTLE IS BREWING
: USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell notes the stage is "seemingly being constructed for a nasty battle" between Goodell and NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith after Smith last week said a lockout or strike is a "virtual certainty" after the current CBA expires in '21. Issues "will surely include how revenue is divided" and Goodell's "disciplinary power." Jones said another work stoppage "doesn't make sense to me." Jones: "At all. I'm looking at it, not for us, but I'm looking at it if I'm players. If they want to get some changes, then obviously, you can have some remedies" (USA TODAY, 8/21). Smith will appear on HBO's "Real Sports" tomorrow night, and CBSSPORTS.com's Will Brinson noted a teaser for the episode shows Smith taking the "proverbial blowtorch to the other side." He blames the owners for opting out of the previous CBA "because they are 'greedy.'" Smith also "believes Goodell 'lied' to him" about finding ways to change the commissioner's "power in personal conduct matters." Smith will be "up for re-election" at the beginning of the '18 season (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/20).