AP source: Union offered NFL settlement on Brady suspension


Barry Wilner - AP Pro Football Writer



The players’ union proposed a settlement on Tom Brady’s four-game suspension last week that was “met with silence” by the NFL, a person familiar with the proposal told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the NFL Players Association’s offer was confidential. There is no timetable on when Commissioner Roger Goodell will rule on the New England quarterback’s appeal.

Several media reports indicated the union’s proposal called for Brady paying a large fine, but with no suspension. The Patriots paid a record $1 million fine and were stripped of two draft picks, including a No. 1 selection next year. Team owner Robert Kraft accepted those punishments while stating he believed the Patriots had done nothing wrong.

Brady was suspended for his role in using underinflated footballs in the Patriots’ victory over the Colts in the AFC title game. A league-sanctioned independent report by attorney Ted Wells found that Brady at the least was “generally aware” of the use of the footballs in what has become known as “Deflategate.”

Brady adamantly denied any involvement. Should Goodell uphold the four-game suspension — or even reduce it — Brady is expected to go to court.

The union asked Goodell to recuse himself as the appeal hearing officer, but the commissioner refused, citing his responsibility to protect the integrity of the game. Last week, Goodell said at a fundraiser: “There is no timeline. We want to make sure we have a fair and open process.”

“We are focused on it,” Goodell added. “We are obviously being very thorough and want to make sure we consider all aspects of his appeal. We will make a decision as quickly as possible.”

The Patriots report to training camp next Wednesday and begin practicing Thursday. Brady is not barred from participating in team activities until the preseason ends.

Should Goodell maintain any suspension, whether four games or less, and Brady takes the matter to court, it’s possible the case could drag deep into the regular season. During that time, should Brady obtain an injunction, he likely would be able to play until a court decision is made.

Barry Wilner

AP Pro Football Writer

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