Tom Brady announced in a Facebook post Friday that he will not appeal his legal case against the NFL any further, leaving his four–game suspension for his purported role in the Deflategate scandal intact to start the 2016 NFL season.
“I'm very grateful for the overwhelming support I've received from Mr. Kraft, the Kraft family, coach 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 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Tom Brady’s request for a rehearing on Wednesday, which meant that barring an appeal to the Supreme Court, Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate controversy would stand. Friday’s announcement means that Brady will miss the first four games of the season.
His suspension for his role in allegedly deflating footballs in the AFC Championship in January 2015 was reinstated by the Second Circuit in April, overturning an earlier ruling by District Court judge Richard Berman. Berman’s ruling vacated Brady’s suspension in time for the Patriots’ first game of the season, but the NFL filed an appeal.
Brady will miss games against the Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans and Bills. He is eligible to return in Week 5 against the Browns. Jimmy Garoppolo is the Patriots’ backup quarterback.
In a statement, the NFLPA said it will not seek a stay of the suspension, but that it will “continue to review” its options and reserves rights to petition for cert to the Supreme Court. The players’ association said the decision was made in the interest of Brady’s planning ahead for the 2016-17 season.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft released a statement Friday afternoon pertaining to Brady’s decision.
"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,” Kraft said in the statement. “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.”
Kraft called the NFL’s investigation “flawed and biased from the start” and affirmed the organization’s stance in defense of the quarterback.
“This stopped being about air pressure a long time ago,” Kraft said.