A federal court judge said Monday he will make a decision this week in the Deflategate scandal after the NFL and the Players Assn. representing Tom Brady failed to reach a settlement in the case.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman met with both sides in his chambers for more than 45 minutes before emerging Monday morning.
"We did not reach a settlement," Berman said. He said both parties "tried quite hard," and added, "I have no problem with everybody's dedication."
Berman said he expects to issue a decision by Sept. 4. It may be ready in the next day or two, he added.
Neither Brady, the Patriots quarterback slapped with a four-game suspension, nor NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said anything to reporters as they entered the courthouse in lower Manhattan.
Monday's hearing came on the brink of two deadlines: The judge had said he expected to decide the case by Sept. 4 if the two sides could not work out the deal on their own; and the patriots are due to play their season-opener Sept. 10 against Pittsburgh.
Deflategate has been dragging on since the end of the 2014 season. In May, Goodell suspended Brady without pay for the first four games of the 2015 season. He also fined the Patriots $1 million and stripped them of their first-round pick next year and a fourth-round selection in 2017. The fine is tied for the largest in NFL history, matching that imposed on former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo in 1999 for his role in a Louisiana riverboat gambling scandal.
By comparison, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was initially given a two-game suspension last year for domestic abuse after video surfaced that showed him dragging his then-fiancé out of an elevator in Atlantic City.
Deflategate is the second time in eight years the Patriots have been accused of cheating. In 2007, they were caught improperly videotaping the sideline hand signals of the New York Jets coaches. That incident, nicknamed Spygate, cost New England coach Bill Belichick $500,000 — the maximum allowable fine at the time — and the league docked the Patriots a first-round draft pick.
At the last court hearing earlier this month, a lawyer for the NFL Players Assn., Jeffrey Kessler, had objected, among other things, to what the union sees as the vagueness of the report that led to Brady's suspension. That report did not specifically say that Brady was aware of footballs being deflated during the January AFC championship game, which the Patriots won. Rather, it said Brady was "generally aware" of inappropriate activities.