NFL Wire News

Patriots’ Brady remains silent on Deflategate


The Sports Xchange

Quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, who will have the appeal of his four-game suspension heard on June 23, continues to avoid reporters in the aftermath of Deflategate.

Brady didn’t break his silence after Friday morning’s organized team activity and at night when he appeared at Harvard Stadium to quarterback for both teams in the Best Buddies Football Challenge, a charity which helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

At Friday’s OTA, Brady split the practice reps with backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Brady went first in every drill and worked mostly with the starters in the non-contact practice.

Brady, whose appeal reportedly will continue if necessary on June 25, quickly jogged off the field when the two-hour practice ended, declining all requests to speak to the media for the first time since the NFL handed down its penalties on May 11.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, dealing with the media for the first time this offseason, averted questions about Deflategate and even the Super Bowl.

“That was a long time ago,” Belichick said Friday of the Super Bowl. “We’re on to next year. It’s 2015. You can forget about last year; that was last year.”

At the charity touch football game Friday night, Brady was relaxed and smiling. He typically speaks to the media at halftime of the event for Best Buddies, of which he is honorary co-chairman.

But he declined to do so this year while his four-game suspension remains up in the air.

After the charity game, Brady told the crowd at Harvard Stadium: “Thanks guys. What a great night we had.”

Brady was suspended by the league on May 11 after league-appointed independent investigator Ted Wells determined that Brady “was at least generally aware of” deflated footballs in January’s AFC Championship Game.

Brady was banned for the first four games of the 2015 season, and the Patriots were fined $1 million and penalized two draft choices — the 2016 first-round draft pick and 2017 fourth-round pick.

The NFLPA formally appealed Brady’s suspension on May 14, pushing for an independent arbiter to hear the case. After the NFL said commissioner Roger Goodell would hear the appeal, the NFLPA asked that Goodell recuse himself, and the NFL so far has declined.

The NFLPA has Goodell lacked impartiality and would be called as a witness.

At OTAs, tight end Rob Gronkowski said he has seen “no difference” in Brady during the workouts.

“He comes out here and competes every single day like nothing happened,” Gronkowski said. “It’s great to see him out here practicing and going full speed and everyone just being on the same page.”

Garoppolo, who would start if Brady is not available, said he is taking practice one day at a time.

“I’m just going out to practice every day trying to improve, trying to get my teammates better and be better,” Garoppolo said Friday.

“We’ll go from there. I just have the mindset that I’m trying to get better. That’s all you can control at the end of the day.”

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