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Tom Brady drops his Deflategate appeal, will serve four-game suspension

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks off the field following practice on May 26.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks off the field following practice on May 26.

(Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

Tom Brady is giving up the legal fight on Deflategate, meaning the New England Patriots quarterback will miss the first four games of the season.

Brady announced the decision Friday on his Facebook page, two days after a federal appeals court rejected his bid to get a new hearing in the matter.

“I'm very grateful for the overwhelming support I've received from [Patriots Chairman and CEO] Mr. [Robert] Kraft, the Kraft family, Coach [Bill] Belichick, my coaches and teammates, the NFLPA, my agents, my loving family and most of all, our fans,” Brady wrote. “It has been a challenging 18 months and I have made the difficult decision to no longer proceed with the legal process. I'm going to work hard to be the best player I can be for the New England Patriots and I look forward to having the opportunity to return to the field this fall.”

The NFL Players Assn., while acknowledging the decision not to continue the case, did leave the door cracked for another attempt.

“We will continue to review all of our options and we reserve our rights to petition for cert to the Supreme Court,” the union wrote.

Legal experts say it would be highly unlikely the U.S. Supreme Court would take up the case, however.

The union is looking to limit the ability of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to act as the final authority when it comes to punishing players. Goodell suspended Brady for the first four games of this season for the quarterback’s role in an alleged football-deflating scheme in the 2015 AFC championship game against Indianapolis.

In rejecting Brady’s appeal for a new hearing, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Goodell’s powers under the league’s collective bargaining agreement to such decisions in the future, delivering a setback to the NFLPA.

Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo will step into the starting role for Brady in games against Arizona, Miami, Houston and Buffalo. The first game Brady will be eligible to return is Oct. 9 at Cleveland.

In the wake of the decision, Kraft issued the following statement:

“While I was disappointed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision not to rehear Tom Brady’s case, I am most frustrated that Tom was denied his right to a fair and impartial process. The League’s investigation into a football pressure matter was flawed and biased from the start, and has been discredited nearly unanimously by accredited academics and scientists.

“The penalty imposed by the NFL was unprecedented, unjust and unreasonable, especially given that no empirical or direct evidence of any kind showed Tom did anything to violate League rules prior to, during or after the 2015 AFC Championship Game. What Tom has had to endure throughout this 18-month ordeal has been, in my opinion, as far removed from due process as you could ever expect in this country.

“From day one, I have believed in Tom and given him my unwavering support in his pursuit to rightfully clear his name of any wrongdoing. That support extends throughout our organization and has only grown more steadfast as the preponderance of scientific evidence has exonerated Tom. Unfortunately, this stopped being about air pressure a long time ago.

“This entire process has indelibly taken a toll on our organization, our fans and most importantly, Tom Brady. His reluctant decision to stop pursuing further action and to put this situation behind him is what he feels is best for the team in preparation for this season and is fully supported by me and our entire organization.

“To our devoted fans, your unwavering support for Tom and our organization have only reinforced our longstanding belief that we have the greatest fans in all of sports. We will continue to unequivocally support Tom and know our fans will rally around him and the rest of the team like never before. Our full focus now is on making the upcoming season a memorable one for all of our fans.”



UPDATES:

12:25 p.m.: This article has been updated with a statement from Robert Kraft.

12 p.m.: This article has been updated with staff reporting.

This article was originally published at 11:35 a.m.


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