New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady missed practice Tuesday in order to get to New York for a settlement conference with the NFL regarding his four-game suspension for his involvement in the Deflategate scandal.
However, it appears Brady's time might have been better spent on the practice field.
He had been expected to miss practice again Wednesday to attend a hearing in front of U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, but with talks between the two sides at a stalemate, the signal-caller is checking out and joining his teammates in West Virginia for a joint practice with the New Orleans Saints, according to NFL.com.
"Brady is a key part of this team, a leader," Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler told the Associated Press. "There's nothing like having Brady out there. But if he's there or not, we're still going to work hard either way."
Berman has asked both sides to work together to come to an agreement, but according to reports, talks remain at an impasse going into Wednesday's scheduled hearing.
Absent an agreement, Berman has been asked by both parties to issue a ruling on the mattert by Sept. 4. The Patriots are scheduled to open the regular season against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxborough, Mass. on Sept. 10.
"The average life of a suit with appeal is two years, not two months," Berman said during a settlement hearing last week, as reported by the Boston Globe. "I think it's fair to say that no one here wants to wait that long."
According to the newspaper, the NFL wants Brady to accept at least a one-game suspension along with the findings of the Tedd Wells report, which found that the quarterback "was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities" related to the underinflation of footballs. Brady reportedly will not accept more than a large fine.
In the event that Brady is suspended, backup Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to start in his place.
Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme
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