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NFLPA responds to Deflategate case not being reheard in 2nd Circuit: ‘We have a broken system that must be fixed’

07.13.16 at 11:27 am ET
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It didn’t take long for the NFLPA to respond to Tom Brady’s Deflategate case not being reheard by the Second Circuit.

They said they were “disappointed” and added they will review all the options they have.

“The NFL Players Association is a labor Union that protects the rights of all of its members and pursues any violations of those rights by any means necessary,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “We are disappointed with the decision denying a rehearing, as there were clear violations of our collective bargaining agreement by the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“Despite today’s result, the track record of this League office when it comes to matters of player discipline is bad for our business and bad for our game. We have a broken system that must be fixed.

“We will review all of our options carefully on behalf of Tom Brady and all NFL players.”

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Report: Tom Brady expected to take Deflategate case to U.S. Supreme Court

07.13.16 at 11:09 am ET
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Perhaps, Deflategate isn’t over.

The Second Circuit ruled Wednesday they would not rehear the Deflategate case per Tom Brady and the NFLPA’s request, meaning Brady’s four-game suspension stands. But, the NFLPA and Brady have one last Hail Mary effort — the U.S. Supreme Court and it appears they will go there.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the expectation is Brady will attempt to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, although nothing is official.

Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,

Most Important Patriots of 2016: No. 9, Jabaal Sheard

07.13.16 at 10:45 am ET
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Jabaal Sheard finished the season with eight sacks. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Jabaal Sheard finished the season with eight sacks. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

As the countdown to training camp begins later this month, we’re going to take a look at the 20 most important members of the Patriots heading into 2016.

9. Defensive end Jabaal Sheard
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 255 pounds
Age: 27 (will turn 28 on May 10)

Resume: A second-round pick of the Browns in 2011 out of Pitt, Sheard’s production dropped each season in his first four years with Cleveland, going from 8.5 sacks as a rookie to 2.0 sacks in 2014. (You could argue that some of that was because of scheme and some was because of injury.) Acquired by the Patriots as a free agent in the spring of 2015 (thanks, Mike Lombardi), he was a bit of a revelation with eight sacks, 37 tackles and 11 quarterback hits while working as part of a rotation at the defensive end spot. (He played 51 percent of the defensive snaps in 2015, per Pro Football Reference.) Reborn with the Patriots, he’s clearly found a home in Foxboro.

Why we ranked him here: It isn’t the only reason Chandler Jones was dealt to Arizona, but given Sheard’s production last year, it’s likely the Patriots feel pretty comfortable with the idea of him taking a chunk of Jones’ old snaps at right end in 2016 and getting something close to the same level of production from Sheard. (Not to mention a stouter presence against the run.) Even with Chris Long on the roster, with Jones in Arizona, there will be more on Sheard’s plate this season. The bottom line is that there are bigger names in the New England system, but given where he lines up and his performance in the system in 2015, this shapes up to be a big season for Sheard. If he can maintain consistency when it comes to getting after opposing passers — and continue to hold up well against the run — he’ll continue to play an important role in New England’s 2016 defensive scheme. (It’ll also be interesting to see how his contract situation plays out, as he’s going into the final year of a two-year deal. Whether he ends up re-upping with the Patriots or finding a home somewhere else, Sheard could land a sizable payday with another big year.)

Quote: “Really professional, works hard, trains hard. He’s got good skills. (He’s) got good playing strength, good technique. He does a good job and he’s fit in well. He’s been a good teammate. Guys really like working with him, coaches. He’s given us a lot of versatility.” — Bill Belichick on Sheard, 1/6/16

Random Note: Sheard was awarded a bravery medal at the age of 11 after he helped an elderly woman escape from her burning home in Florida

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2nd Circuit denies Tom Brady’s request for rehearing, 4-game suspension stands

07.13.16 at 9:51 am ET
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Tom Brady

Tom Brady

It looks like it’s Jimmy Garoppolo time for the Patriots.

The second circuit has rejected Tom Brady’s appeal for a rehearing, meaning his four-game suspension stands and he will miss the first four games of the season. His only option now is to take the case to the Supreme Court, but as of now he will miss the first four games of the season.

The denial stated: Appellees, National Football League Players Association and Tom Brady filed a petition for a panel rehearing, or, in the alternative, for rehearing en banc. The panel that determined the appeal has considered the request for panel rehearing, and the active members of the Court have considered a request for a rehearing en banc.

IT IS HEARBY ORDERED that the petition is denied.

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Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,

Rob Ninkovich on OMF: Deflategate ‘is just stupid’

07.12.16 at 1:05 pm ET
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Patriots defensive lineman/linebacker Rob Ninkovich and former wide receiver Wes Welker joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday morning as part of their promotion of Dr. Robert Leonard and hair loss treatment. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

As is with most interviews with Patriots players, Deflategate came up.

“Honestly, no, we don’t talk about it,” Ninkovich said. “It was last year — what was it? Two years ago? How long ago was it? It’s something that you can’t really think about, talk about because it’s not going to help you.”

Added Ninkovich: “Really for me, I’m not a quarterback, I’m not a receiver. I don’t know. The whole thing is just stupid. There are a lot of things going on that shouldn’t last for two years, three years, four years, I don’t know.”

Welker was seen spending a few days with the Ravens this summer coaching. He admitted he’s interested, but doesn’t know if he wants to make the commitment because of the time involved.

“Part of of me does and then there’s part of me that is just like [oof],” Welker said. “We just had twins and they are 11 months old. That is a big factor too.”

The former Patriots receiver has done some media work in the past few months and said it’s something he would like to get into down the road.

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Most Important Patriots of 2016: No. 10, Martellus Bennett

07.12.16 at 11:45 am ET
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Martellus Bennett meets the media earlier this spring. (Michael Petraglia/ photo)

Martellus Bennett meets the media earlier this spring. (Michael Petraglia/ photo)

As the countdown to training camp begins later this month, we’re going to take a look at the 20 most important members of the Patriots heading into 2016.

10. Tight end Martellus Bennett
Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 248 pounds
Age: 29 (will turn 30 on March 10)

Resume: A second-round pick of the Cowboys in the 2008 draft out of Texas A&M, Bennett was part of a two-tight end attack with teammate Jason Witten in his first four years in the league. His breakout year really came in 2012 with the Giants, when he caught a career-best 55 passes. That jumpstarted his most recent four-year stretch where he’s averaged 66 catches a year the last four years, including 90 in 2014 with the Bears. The brother of Seattle defensive lineman Michael Bennett, the Patriots acquired Martellus and a sixth-round selection from the Bears this past offseason for a fourth-round pick. His New England career is in its infancy, but Patriots fans have quickly came to see that why he’s developed a reputation as one of the more offbeat characters in the league, embracing the nickname “The Black Unicorn” and working as an illustrator and children’s author.

Why we ranked him here: The second new veteran we have on this list (defensive end Chris Long was the first), Bennett isn’t on the countdown because of what he’s done to this point, but what he’s capable of achieving in the New England passing game. Since 2010, one of the fundamental elements to the Patriots’ offense has been the two tight end set, with Rob Gronkowski and (fill in the blank) working in tandem against opposing defenses, and the new guy seems to be an excellent fit. Based on Bennett’s previous body of work and what he did over the course of the spring practices, if the duo can stay healthy, there’s no reason to think they can’t challenge the mark for most production in a single season at the tight end spot. (The 2011 Patriots, with Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, set the standard with 169 catches for 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns.) Bennett not only has an impressive pair of hands, but has also shown an ability to be a willing blocker. One thing certainly worth watching is the fact that Bennett is heading into the final year of his contract; it’ll be interesting to see how that particular part of the drama plays out. But that’s for down the road. At this point, when it comes to on-field possibilities with Bennett, the sky is the limit.

Quote: “Dr. Seuss said, ‘No one can be you-er than you.’ Oscar Wilde said, ‘Be yourself, because everyone else is taken.’ I can only be one person. I just try and continue to be who I am and don’t change that. I’m a little chameleon. I just try and fit in wherever I am. When you’re authentic, people appreciate that.” — Bennett speaking with reporters on 6/8/16

“I have no idea. I just think it’s unusual to have two guys that are like 6-[foot]-7 and can run, catch, block. So, yeah, it’s going to be a major challenge. There’s no doubt about that. It’s scary when you look at them. Those are two huge guys. How we’re going to defend them, I don’t know.” — Bills coach Rex Ryan on how Buffalo will attempt to defend Gronkowski and Bennett when the two are on the field together this season, 3/22/16

Random Note: Bennett declared for the NBA draft after his senior season at Alief Taylor High School in Texas, but he withdrew from the draft shortly beforehand and decided to go to Texas A&M. (He averaged 23 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as a senior in basketball.)

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Tom Brady congratulates Andy Murray for Wimbledon win on Facebook

07.11.16 at 2:25 pm ET
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Tom Brady was evidently watching tennis on Sunday.

The Patriots quarterback congratulated Andy Murray for his Wimbledon win on Facebook by posting: Congrats to Andy Murray on the Wimbledon victory yesterday! Another title for team Under Armour…

He also photoshopped his picture into the face of a person clapping in the background.

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