All signs indicate NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is ready to announce next week a possible suspension for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Gary Myers of the New York Daily News reported that several league sources said Goodell considers Brady’s role in Deflategate a serious violation.
According to Myers, “the NFL is convinced, according to sources, that connecting all the dots of the evidence supplied by Ted Wells leads to one conclusion: Brady cheated.”
Bovada, a gambling website, has posted three prop wagers around Brady’s potential suspension: Will he be suspended for at least one game, will he be suspended for the full 2015 season and how many games will he be suspended?
Since the NFL released the 243-page Wells report on Wednesday, estimates of the length of the suspension have been debated throughout the country on social media and sports talk shows, by reporters and columnists. Everyone seems to have an opinion.
If he is suspended, Brady would be the highest-profile NFL player ever to receive such a punishment in the history of the league.
No matter what Goodell decides, the four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback’s image has been tarnished with the release of the Wells report.
The Wells report concludes that the Patriots “more probable than not” violated NFL rules and Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” of the deflated game balls.
Brady did not willingly reveal conversations, text messages and emails requested by Wells and his investigative team.
Wells found Brady and the Patriots’ equipment staff were all likely culpable in reducing the psi, mandated at 12.5 pounds, of 11 footballs in the AFC Championship game in January against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts brought the issue to the attention of the league, sparking a four-month investigation.
In his summary, Wells wrote about the irregularities in the footballs used in the game when the Patriots routed the Colts 45-7 to win the AFC title. The Patriots went on to beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots, Brady, locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski could be punished by the league.
Brady offered his first public comments about the Wells report at a Thursday night appearance at Salem State University in Massachusetts as part of the college’s speaker series, which was scheduled four months ago. The event was moderated by investigative reporter Jim Gray.
Brady said he is waiting to respond more directly about the report.
“I don’t have really any reaction (to the Wells report),” Brady told Gray. “Our owner commented on it yesterday and it’s only been 30 hours, so I haven’t had much time to digest it fully. But when I do, I’ll be sure to let you know how I feel about it. And everybody else.”
If Goodell suspends Brady, backup Jimmy Garoppolo will be ready to fill in, according to the second-year quarterback’s personal coach.
“From the exchanges I’ve had with Jimmy, I can tell you Tom’s been great with him, and helping him understand NFL defenses, along with the offense,” Jeff Christiansen told the Boston Herald. “He’s got nothing but great things to say about the whole situation. He feels very fortunate. With Tom’s professionalism and willingness to help the kid, I’m sure he’ll do real well if that happens.”
During his rookie season in 2014, Garoppolo completed 19 of 27 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown.
Meanwhile, Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, appearing Saturday at a 50th anniversary celebration of the Miami Dolphins franchise, took a jab at Brady and the Patriots
In the past, the 85-year-old Shula has questioned the integrity of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, referring to him in January as “Beli-cheat.”
Shula coached the Dolphins for 26 seasons and won 347 games in his 33-year career, an NFL record.
“It was always done with a lot of class, and a lot of dignity,” the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach said Saturday. “We didn’t deflate any balls. They all had the right amount of air in them.
“We always tried to do it by the rules and set an example for those that are looking for an example. That’s what I think I take more pride in than anything else in the years that I’ve been associated with the Dolphins.
“I coached for 33 years and I never once in that 33-year period of time ever even talked or heard anyone talk about the air in a football.”