The New England Patriots have one last-ditch attempt to get Tom Brady back on the field to start the season, but rumors indicate that their attempts to overturn his four-game Deflategate suspension are almost assured to be rejected.
Brady has until Monday to appeal the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision to re-instate the four-game suspension that was originally overturned last year. Brady was punished by the league for his apparent involvement in a plan to deflate balls to below league standards, a charge he has vehemently denied. He won his initial appeal, having the punishment rescinded before the start of the 2015 season, but it was returned this year.
Tom Brady has not said publicly whether he plans to appeal, the Boston Globe noted, but it’s widely expected he will file for an “en banc” hearing in which all 13 active judges in the Second Circuit decide whether to hear another appeal.
The Boston Globe noted that Brady has collected a legal “Dream Team,” one that includes former U.S. solicitor general Theodore Olson, who has worked on some of the biggest cases in the past few decades, including Bush v. Gore.
The Boston Globe noted that Brady has another huge addition to his legal team — Thomas H. Dupree, Jr.
“Dupree served in the Justice Department from 2007 to 2009, reaching the position of principal deputy assistant attorney general in 2009, ‘responsible for managing many of the government’s most significant cases involving regulatory, commercial, constitutional, and national security matters on behalf of virtually all of the federal agencies, the White House, and senior federal officials,’ according to his Gibson Dunn bio.”
But even with such a strong legal team at his disposal, rumors indicate that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are unlikely to get another chance. The Boston Globe described his chances of receiving an en banc rehearing as something of a “Hail Mary,” and legal experts noted that his only recourse left may be to file a petition with the Supreme Court.
93-year-old WWII veteran sends letter to Second Circuit in support of Tom Brady, calls ruling "stupid, asinine" https://t.co/CdsRasp0hR— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 21, 2016
The divisional foes of the New England Patriots are already looking at Tom Brady’s suspension as a chance to finally break through in a division Brady has dominated since entering the league. New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker said he believes his team is primed to take advantage of the future Hall of Famer’s absence and end their 14-year division title drought.
“I think we’re there, to be honest…. With Brady being suspended four games, I think it makes the division up for grabs. Again, I believe in this team, and we’re ready to make the run now,” Decker told NFL Network.
Eric Decker believes Tom Brady's 4-game ban creates a big opportunity for the Jets https://t.co/cln5jNs6lA— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) May 20, 2016
The Buffalo Bills will also get a chance to play a Brady-less Patriots team to start the season. The Bills took a step back last season under first-year coach Rex Ryan, but have made significant upgrades to their defense and are also looking to take advantage of a weakened Patriots team.
If the rumors are true and the New England Patriots do end up losing Tom Brady for the first four games of the season, it could also lead to some roster changes. Though the team has been grooming Jimmy Garoppolo to take over, many believe Bill Belichick will seek out a veteran who can provide steady backup in case of injury or struggles for the third-year quarterback.
[Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]