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The Sugar Bowl is still weeks away, but we’ll be tackling the best question from Alabama football fans each day. Look for our Alabama Question of the Day every Tuesday through Friday.

Alabama football earned the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff. It will be the Crimson Tide’s fourth appearance in the playoff’s four-year history. Alabama will face No. 1 Clemson on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl semifinal. No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia will meet in the Rose Bowl semifinal.

Will Alabama be healthy for Sugar Bowl matchup vs. Clemson?

The answer to this one is yes and no. From an injury standpoint, Alabama should be healthy at linebacker by game time. Alabama coach Nick Saban said the Crimson Tide’s linebackers who have been banged up — Mack Wilson, Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis — will be back for the game.

That’s huge. Wilson, Miller and Lewis all played in the Iron Bowl, but they weren’t 100 percent. They should be there, or really close to it by Jan. 1.

Star defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring) and left guard Ross Pierschbacher (ankle) should also have time to heal, as well as any other players who were dealing with nagging injuries.

The bad news is that Alabama will be without starting safety Hootie Jones, whom Saban said suffered a knee injury against Auburn.

Jones was a staple at one of the safety spots in Alabama’s nickel and dime packages. He’ll likely be replaced by junior Deionte Thompson. Thompson is a physical safety, who will benefit from this experience heading into next season.

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Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is dropping the appeal of his six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, his agents said Wednesday in a statement obtained by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Here is the statement from Elliott’s agents, Rocky Arceneaux and Frank Salzano:

“In consultation with the NFL Players Assocation and his lawyers, and after careful deliberation and review of the recent Second Circuit decisions, Mr. Elliott has decided to forego any further appeals and will serve the remaining suspension. This decision arises from a practical assessment of the current legal landscape. Mr. Elliott’s desire for closure in this matter is in his best interests, as well as the best interests of his teammates, family and friends. This decision is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing, and Mr. Elliott is pleased that the legal fight mounted by him and his team resulted in the disclosure of many hidden truths regarding this matter, as well public exposure of the NFL’s mismanagement of its disciplinary process. Mr. Elliott will maximize this time away from the game and come back even stronger both on and off the field. He intends to release a final personal statement in the upcoming weeks and until then we have no further comment.”

The decision means Elliott will serve out the remaining five games of his six-game suspension. He won’t be eligible to play again until Week 16 against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 24. He did not play Sunday in the Cowboys’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Elliott was facing long odds for success at this stage in his legal fight against the NFL. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied an NFLPA request for an injunction in the case earlier this month, essentially locking in Elliott’s suspension for four games since the next court hearing wasn’t scheduled until Dec. 1. Since a decision almost certainly would not have been made immediately after the hearing, there was a good chance he would have missed all six games until another ruling, according to NFL Network legal analyst Gabe Feldman.

The Cowboys told NFL Network’s Jane Slater they have no comment on the decision.

Tom Pelissero ✔ @TomPelissero
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy on Ezekiel Elliott dropping his legal fight: “His decision speaks for itself.”
7:20 AM – Nov 16, 2017
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The NFLPA still can pursue its lawsuit against the NFL on Elliott’s behalfeven though he’s accepted the terms of the suspension.

Elliott was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in August following a year-long investigation into domestic violence allegations made by Tiffany Thompson, his former girlfriend. The league concluded he violated its personal conduct policy, which mandates a six-game suspension for first-time domestic violence violations. Elliott, 22, was never charged and has denied wrongdoing.

The NFLPA’s lawsuit, which was filed on the same day Elliott’s appeal before a league-appointed arbitrator ended, doesn’t try to undermine the factual conclusions from the NFL’s investigation — it challenges the process the league undertook to suspend Elliott, Feldman said. The NFL wanted to enforce Elliott’s suspension this season and confirm Goodell’s authority to issue punishment based on “conduct detrimental” to the league as mandated in Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement.

It’s virtually the same argument the NFL deployed in ultimately successful appeals against Tom Brady during Deflategate and Adrian Peterson after he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault.

Elliott, who tallied a league-best 1,631 rushing yards en route to a First Team All-Pro selection as a rookie, rushed for 783 yards and seven touchdowns prior to his suspension coming into effect last week.

Elliott’s decision means he’ll be available to play in the playoffs if the Cowboys make the playoffs.

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CINCINNATI — Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was clearly keeping an eye on Bengals rookie Joe Mixon on Sunday.

Bell took some shots at Mixon via his Twitter account during the first half of the Bengals’ 24-23 victory over the Colts. With the Steelers playing in the late game, Bell was clearly watching the Bengals’ contest and hadn’t forgotten about some comments Mixon made about him the week before.

Le’Veon Bell ✔ @L_Bell26
for someone who feels they can do “way more” than I can, sure seems like u wanna be me! tryin to mimic my run style, my 1st down celebration
2:41 AM – Oct 30, 2017
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Le’Veon Bell ✔ @L_Bell26
now u wear an arm sleeve on your left arm AND went to the mismatch gloves too?! lol just change your number from 28 to 26 while your at it..
2:43 AM – Oct 30, 2017
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Although Bell didn’t refer to Mixon by name, the rookie wears No. 28, and Bell wears No. 26.

Mixon expressed frustration after a loss to the Steelers last Sunday. He had no second-half carries and only seven total carries in the loss, while Bell had 35 carries.

“Me, personally, I feel like I can do way more than [Bell] did. Like I said, I only had seven carries. I can’t showcase nothing if I don’t get the ball. There’s nothing else I can say,” Mixon said.


Joe Mixon asked for the ball and the Bengals obliged, with mixed results in win
Joe Mixon was one of the few bright spots in a lackluster day. The Bengals beat the Colts, but consistency remains an issue.
“It’s frustrating. I feel like I’m seeing [Bell] got the ball 35 times, and I got it seven in the first half and then don’t touch the ball again,” Mixon said. “[Jeremy] Hill only got one touch in the second half. It’s frustrating to us running backs. We feel like we’re in the room, and we feel like we’re part of the offense. If it worked in the first half, why not do it in the second?”

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Mixon needed to “show maturity” with his comments. However, his words did not affect his playing time. Mixon caught a screen pass that went for 67 yards in the first half of the game against the Colts.


He finished with 11 rushes for 18 yards and three receptions for 91 yards.

After the game, Mixon said he had not seen Bell’s comments, but he wasn’t concerned about them.

“I’m just going to continue to keep grinding and do what I do best, and that’s playing football,” Mixon said. “I’m going to try to do the best I can each and every play and each and every drive. And … I’m just going to keep on grinding.

“It’s unfortunate he feels that way, but like I said, I’m not worried about what he’s talking about. I’m going to keep my head down.”

While Bell said that Mixon was trying to imitate him, Mixon said he has always admired and tried to emulate Adrian Peterson, with whom he worked out in the offseason.

“How he runs, the way he finishes, I try to do a little bit of what he does,” Mixon said. “I try to mix up a lot things in my running style, but for the most part, I try to do what I do.”

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Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed a grievance under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement Sunday, alleging collusion that has denied him a job with a team this season.

“Respondents NFL and NFL Team Owners have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States,” Kaepernick’s representatives wrote in the claim.

NFL spokesperson Joe Lockhart declined to comment on Kaepernick’s grievance during a Monday conference call with reporters, citing confidentiality requirements of arbitration proceedings.

Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem before games during the 2016 season to protest racial inequality and other social injustices, has remained a free agent since he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers last March. He visited with the Seahawks during the summer and was discussed as an option for the Ravens after Joe Flacco injured his back in training camp. Both teams ultimately decided not to sign him.

According to Gabe Feldman, NFL Network legal analyst and director of the Tulane University Sports Law Program, “Kaepernick’s collusion complaint will be heard by a neutral arbitrator pursuant to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. Kaepernick will have to prove that two or more teams conspired to keep him out of the league.”

Per Feldman, it will be difficult for Kaepernick to win a collusion case “absent a ‘smoking gun’ that provides evidence of actual collusion as opposed to speculation.”