Tom Brady will not play in the New England Patriots’ preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
Brady is suspended for the first four games of the regular season as penalty for his alleged role in Deflategate. Though he is eligible to play in preseason games, coach Bill Belichick said last month that the team’s top priority is preparing backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to start those four games in Brady’s absence.
Other top players expected to sit out the first game of the preseason are Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan, Schefter reports.
Garoppolo said on Wednesday that he is “moving in the right direction” in terms of readiness to start the regular season on Sept. 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. In two seasons with the Patriots, Garoppolo has never started but has appeared in 11 games, completing 64.5% of his passes for 188 yards and one touchdown.
Thursday’s game will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.