This will set the stage for a potential lengthy legal battle with the NFL.

Last season’s league rushing leader was already cleared to play in the opener against the New York Giants on Sunday night before the ruling by US District Judge Amos Mazzant. It is uncertain weather, if the NFL appealed the ruling, that the suspension would be reinstated this season.

The main reason Mazzant agreed with the players’ union lawyers was because he felt that Elliott didn’t receive a “fundamentally fair” hearing during his appeal. Elliott was suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell in August after the league concluded he had several physical confrontations last summer with former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson.

Arbitrator Harold Henderson turned down Elliott’s appeal of the suspension while ruling that the NFL complied with it’s personal conduct policy in punishing Elliott. He would also reject any claims that Elliott’s attorneys presented new evidence at the appeal.

Mazzant’s ruling took aim at Henderson and the NFL, saying the decisions not to allow Goodell and Thompson to testify at the appeal were among several factors unfair to Elliott. But it didn’t end there as the judge faulted the league for what he saw as several efforts to conceal the opinion of co-lead investigator Kia Roberts. She would testify at the appeal that she didn’t think Thompson was credible and didn’t support the punishment to Elliott.

While Elliott will be on the field for the foreseeable future, this will surely drag on for a long time and could be a distraction to Elliott and the Cowboys this season.