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NFL AM: Tom Brady Files Petition For Rehearing Of Deflate-Gate

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Tom Brady files petition for a rehearing on Deflate-gate suspension:

I’m pretty sure I’ve started several articles about this subject in the exact same manner, but without further ado, just when you thought the national nightmare that is Deflate-gate was over, here we go again.

If the NFL was a person, he/she should be shaken by the shoulders until something shakes loose in their foolish mind. Unfortunately for the league, they’re too far into this foolish mess to do the only thing they should have ever done with this ridiculous mess. Get rid of it.

Forget about Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for a minute. There is absolutely zero positive that can come out of this entire thing for the league itself. That’s not new either. The NFL should have recognized long ago that this wasn’t nearly the kind of issue it had become, and the entire thing should have been avoidable.

Now, months before the 2016 NFL season was slated to start without Brady after his 4-game suspension was reinstated, Brady is filing a petition for a rehearing on his suspension because, of course he is.

Executive director of the NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith said in a statement that Brady “was not afforded fundamental fairness and due process as guaranteed by the collective bargaining agreement and case law.

“We also know that the NFL propped up a now completely de-bunked ‘independent’ report with a made-up standard as the basis for his suspension,” Smith continued.

There’s really nothing else new about this entire mess. You don’t need us going into another 800-word explanation about what happened, what science said may or may not have happened, or any of the other ridiculous points about this completely useless discussion. Regardless, we’ll likely have more about this topic in the coming weeks, because….. of course we will.

House report states NFL attempted to influence brain injury study:

Monday House Democrat Frank Pallone of New Jersey released a report stating the NFL and its medical advisors were inconsistent in their commitment to support science and medicine when it comes to brain injuries.

The report alleges the NFL backed out of funding a study by the National Institute of Health due to its objection of perceived bias by the Boston University grantee who was tabbed by the NIH to compete the study.

In the report, the politician alleges the NFL, “improperly attempted to influence the grant review process for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) brain injury study that the NFL had agreed to fund as part of a $30 million donation.

“This investigation confirms the NFL inappropriately attempted to use its unrestricted gift as leverage to steer funding away from one of its critics,” read Pallone’s release. “Since its research agreement with NIH was clear that it could not weigh in on the grant selection process, the NFL should never have tried to influence that process.

“The NFL’s troublesome interactions with NIH fit a longstanding pattern of attempts to influence the scientific understanding of degenerative diseases and sports-related head trauma. The NFL must recognize the importance of this ongoing, impartial research, and live up to its funding commitments to NIH,” Pallone concluded.

The NFL of course responded with a statement of their own from league spokesman who wrote, “the NFL rejects the allegations laid out in the Democratic Staff Report of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”

“There is no dispute that there were concerns raised about both the nature of the study in question and possible conflicts of interest.  These concerns were raised for review and consideration through the appropriate channels. Ultimately the funding decision was made by the FNIH/NIH, not the NFL, as the FNIH’s public statement of December 22, 2015, confirms. The nature of those conversations and a detailed account of the concerns were communicated in full to the committee members. It is deeply disappointing the authors of the staff report would make allegations directed at doctors affiliated with the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee without ever speaking to them.”

While it’s unlikely the NFL has been as forthcoming or helpful as they could be in regards to studying head trauma, the reality is a lot of this is semantics from greasy politicians about how to spend a $30 million donation.

At the end of the day, the NFL needs to stop pussyfooting around the issue and attack it head on. Invest heavily to find out just how dangerous football is and acknowledge it. It will not kill the sport. There are dangerous professions across the globe, and few of them come with the privilege that playing in the NFL does.

Instead of pretending that athletes aren’t taking a calculated risk by playing the game they love for insane amounts of money just as boxers or MMA fighters are, admit it and embrace it. Instead of pretending these men are the same as baseball players or anglers, laud them for the warriors they are. They are putting their bodies and often times their lives on the line for their families and to provide the rest of us with the greatest game on earth. Do everything you can for them.

The best path for the NFL is to admit exactly how dangerous the sport is, and to invest heavily in research around head trauma to best protect the men who play it. It will not only put the league in the best place, but it will also put them in the best light. Everyone knows that football players are putting themselves in danger by playing the game, and the NFL doesn’t make reports like Pallone’s look any less true by pretending they’re the only ones who aren’t quite sure yet.

Browns release Brian Hartline:

The Cleveland Browns used four of their 105 draft picks on wide receivers, and Monday it cost veteran wide out Brian Hartline his job, as the team announced it was releasing the 29-year-old.

After moving down twice in the first round, the team selected what is likely to be the Browns top wide receiver on the depth chart in Baylor’s Corey Coleman. Coleman will be joined in the receiver room by fellow rookies Ricardo Louis (4th-round, Auburn), Jordan Payton (5th-round UCLA) and Rashard Higgins (5th-round Colorado State).

Hartline likely won’t see an opportunity as great as the one he would have likely had if he had remained in Cleveland. With the Browns’ youth, he would have likely seen plenty of playing time, and that’s likely why they let him go. The team understands they’re in a rebuilding year, and getting their young players experience is much more important than anything Hartline could have accomplished on his way out the door.

While he probably won’t find a team that will feature him the way the Browns may have, Hartline should be able to find work, as plenty of NFL teams could use depth at the position. He won’t blow the top off of any defenses or be an explosive playmaker, but he’d be a very good fit for a team in need of a veteran wide out who understands the position and catches the football.

Chances are Hartline will sign with the Patriots and have a career high in catches and touchdowns as part of Brady’s revenge tour whether it begins in Week-1 or Week-4.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.