New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has taken a knee and opted to drop his legal fight versus the NFL involving his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate.
Brady announced the news on Friday via his Facebook page.
“I’m very grateful for the overwhelming support I’ve received from (Patriots owner 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.”
Brady, who will miss the first four games of the upcoming season, made his decision on the heels of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denying his appeal to rehear his case. The veteran quarterback and the NFL Players Association were asking for the full appeals court panel of judges to hear the case but it was rejected in a one-sentence decision issued Wednesday.
The 2nd Circuit’s 13 active judges found insufficient grounds to reconsider a three-judge panel’s ruling in the NFL’s favor.
“After careful consideration and discussion with Tom Brady, the NFLPA will not be seeking a stay of the four-game suspension with the 2nd Circuit,” the NFLPA said in a statement Friday. “This decision was made in the interest of certainty and planning for Tom prior to the New England Patriots season. We will continue to review all of our options and we reserve our rights to petition for cert to the Supreme Court.”
A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the union is expected to petition for cert in an effort to challenge NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s power.
On April 25, the three-judge appeals court panel ruled 2-1 that Goodell was within his powers when he suspended Brady for his alleged role to deflate the footballs used in the 2015 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18, 2015.
Brady was originally suspended by Goodell on May 11, 2015, for his involvement in the game, which New England won 45-7.
The NFL-commissioned investigation was conducted by attorney Ted Wells, who concluded it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “generally aware” of Patriots attendants deflating footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots were docked $1 million and two draft picks for the scandal that has come to be known as Deflategate.
Kraft did not appeal the $1 million fine and the loss of a first-round pick in the 2016 draft and a fourth-rounder in 2017 as part of the penalties.
“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,” Kraft said in a statement. “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.”
With the suspension, Brady will miss the season opener on the road against the Arizona Cardinals on “Sunday Night Football” on Sept. 11. He also will miss games against the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills. Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to take over in those games.
Brady will be eligible to return in Week 5 on Oct. 9 against the Cleveland Browns. The four-time Super Bowl winner signed a two-year contract extension during the offseason that dropped his 2016 salary from $9 million to $1 million to save himself almost $2 million in lost salary during the suspension. His renegotiated deal deferred $8 million of his 2016 salary.
Brady will be docked four-17ths of his $1 million base salary, or a total of $235,294.