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Steelers players want Tom Brady to win appeal, play Week 1 07.26.15 at 9:22 am ET
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The Steelers say they want Tom Brady on the field Week 1 at Gillette Stadium.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Steelers say they want Tom Brady on the field Week 1 at Gillette Stadium. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Steelers are one of the teams watching the Tom Brady Deflategate case the closest as they will face the Patriots on opening night, Thursday, Sept. 10, at Gillette Stadium.

And in a bit of a surprise, they want Brady to win his appeal and be on the field Week 1.

“Yes, of course,” defensive end Cam Heyward said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The competitor in you wants to see the best team out there, and why not beat Tom Brady in Gillette Stadium on a Thursday night game?’€™’€™

“We might have a better chance, but when you look at playing these teams and seeing them in the playoffs you want your guys to be ready to go into that situation,” he added. “€œSo if guys can prepare against playing against the best early, it’€™s going to help us later down the road.”€

Once the appeal of the four-game suspension is announced, it could just be the beginning as Brady and the NFLPA could take the case to federal court.

“€œIf it gets dragged into a legal battle, I think he’€™ll be playing,”€ Heyward said.

Even the Steelers’ offensive players want Brady on the field.

“€œI want to,”€ right tackle Marcus Gilbert said. “I mean, it’€™s Tom Brady and the opening game of the NFL. I hope he wins his appeal, it would be great for the NFL. It would be great for both of the [teams’€™] fans. We’€™ll get their best and they will see our best.”

This doesn’t mean the Steelers think Brady is innocent, though.

“€œWe talked about it,” Gilbert added. “What he did [in Deflategate] was probably not right, but obviously he’€™s a proven guy, a proven winner, probably one of the greatest to ever play. To see him in the opening game of the season would mean a lot, especially to both teams.”

Brady has had some of his best games against the Steelers. The last time the two teams played was in 2013, a 55-31 Patriots rout. Overall, Brady is 7-2 against Pittsburgh, and even with those numbers, the Steelers ultimately want to face Brady.

“That’€™s Steelers football,” cornerback Antwon Blake said. “We want to play against the best, so we want the best out there. It’€™s definitely a challenge. We’€™ll stand up and be ready for it.

“It would be a great opportunity to play against a legendary quarterback like that.”

Read More: Deflategate, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tom Brady,
Countdown to camp: Quarterback 07.25.15 at 3:09 pm ET
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Tom Brady led the Patriots to a fourth Super Bowl title last season. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Tom Brady led the Patriots to a fourth Super Bowl title last season. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

As training camp approaches, we’ll offer a position-by-position breakdown of the 2015 Patriots. We started with the wide receivers and moved on to the tight ends and offensive line. Now, it’s the quarterback.

Depth chart (regular-season stats via Pro Football Reference): Tom Brady (373-for-582, 64 percent, 4,109 yards, 33 touchdowns, nine INTs), Jimmy Garoppolo (19-for-27, 70 percent, 182 yards, one touchdown), Matt Flynn (8-for-16, 50 percent, 66 yards, one INT with Green Bay).

THREE THINGS WE KNOW

1. Tom Brady has done things that no other quarterback has managed to accomplish. In what was one of the most challenging seasons of his career, he capped it off with a fourth Super Bowl title. And while measuring a quarterback using “wins” is a dicey proposition at best, now he can add lines to his resume that no other quarterback can claim. No quarterback has gone 13 years between Super Bowl titles. No other quarterback has won four titles in the salary cap/free agent era. And no other quarterback has won his first title (like Brady did in Super Bowl XXXVI) and then, come back to win a championship with a completely different roster around him while still with the same franchise (like Brady did in Super Bowl XLIX). While there will be debate about Brady’s status among the greats of the game, at this point, even the most ardent Deflategate truthers have to acknowledge his accomplishments. What he did against the Seahawks last February — particularly in the fourth quarter — was awe-inspiring stuff. In the final quarter against a terrific pass defense, Brady went 13-for-15 for 124 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 140.7. Given the magnitude of the moment as well as the skill set of the opponent, it was perhaps the finest late-game performance of his career. In the end, Julian Edelman is admittedly a little biased, but he summed up the feelings of many after the Super Bowl when asked about Brady. “Tom is the best ever,” Edelman said. “I’m a big Joe Montana fan. I thought he was the best and everything. He’s won four, he’s undefeated in four. But they didn’t have the salary cap back then. He had some great players around him and some great defenses and all that. Tom Brady came out here and he’s been to six Super Bowls (and) he’s won four with the salary cap. It’s hard to argue against that.”

2. Brady doesn’t go deep like he used to, but for what the Patriots ask him to do, he’s still the best in the league at following through with the game plan. It feels like we’re nitpicking here, but Brady’s deep attempts have been limited over the last two seasons. Last year, he averaged 7.06 yards per pass attempt (21st in the league) and he was at 6.92 in 2013 (22nd in the league). That’s down from a career-best of 8.6 in 2011. (He was second to Aaron Rodgers that season.) There are a few factors at play here, including the lack of a consistent deep threat in the New England system. (Would that number increase in 2015 if Aaron Dobson were on the field consistently?) And part of it is playing to the strengths of the passing game, particularly Rob Gronkowski and Edelman, who excel in short and intermediate work. But part of it is also Brady’s accuracy on the deep ball, which is not what it used to be. At the same time, he’s still doing an excellent job of hitting his targets, as his 64.1 percent completion rate in 2014 was fifth best in his career. The same is true when measuring his performance via quarterback rating, where his 97.4 mark last season was also fifth best in his career. In the end, the Patriots will likely take the tradeoff.

3. It sounds like Jimmy Garoppolo is ready to go for 2015. In an interview with his personal quarterbacking guru over the offseason, it was revealed that the backup is more than ready to go for the start of his second season in New England. “I talked to Bill (Belichick) at the combine, and I asked him how Jimmy was doing,” recalled Jeff Christensen. “He said ‘(Jimmy) looks like a linebacker. He works out like a linebacker. He acts like a linebacker. I really like him a lot, coach. You did a great job with him. Thank you.'”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Countdown to Camp, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matt Flynn, Ryan Mallett
Report: NFL believes Tom Brady ultimately will accept reduced suspension in Deflategate case 07.24.15 at 12:20 pm ET
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The back and forth continues between Tom Brady, the NFLPA and the league continues.

According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, the NFL is of the belief it will “wear [Brady] down and get him to accept a deal that will include him missing games as a result of the Deflategate investigation.”

In his video posted to Bleacher Report, Cole went on to say: “Exactly what Brady will agree to and the wording of that penalty is what will be interesting to see because he will want to have a denial that he had anything to do with the deflation of footballs and ultimately this will be about him not cooperating with the league.

“But the key thing here for the league is that they believe the pressure point is going to be at the start of training camp — if they can get the deal done then because at that point in time, Brady will want to focus on football almost exclusively and get the entire Deflategate matter put behind him and in the rear mirror as he goes towards the 2015 season.”

Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension was heard on June 23. Training camp gets underway next Thursday.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,
Report: Tom Brady’s Deflategate appeal ruling unlikely to come Friday at 9:51 am ET
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So much for the Friday afternoon news dump.

Multiple reports now indicate that a ruling on Tom Brady‘s appeal in the Deflategate case will likely not come Friday.

While NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week there is no timetable for a decision, the delay continues to drag on. Thursday marked the one-month anniversary of Brady’s appeal hearing with Goodell in New York. In addition, Patriots training camp is set to open next week.

The news was first reported by ESPN’s Ed Werder.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,
Despite Deflategate, Tom Brady tops NFLPA top 50 player sales list at 7:00 am ET
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Tom Brady can still move a lot of products. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Despite Deflategate, the image of Tom Brady can still move a lot of products. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Tom Brady may be under fire for his role in Deflategate, but his image is still one of the hottest-selling commodities in the NFL.

According to the National Football League Players Association, Brady ranks No. 1 on the NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales List for the most recent quarter. The list, which is based on total sale of all officially licensed NFL merchandise from March 1 through May 31, had Brady on top, leading Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Seattle signal-caller Russell Wilson, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Denver’s Peyton Manning, all of whom round out the Top 5.

The list is based on overall sales of all licensed products from online and traditional retail outlets as reported by more than 80 NFLPA licensees such as Nike, VF Imagewear, Fanatics, Outerstuff, Fathead, McFarlane Toys, Oyo Sports, Bleacher Creatures, FBF Originals, Forever Collectibles, FanPrint and Photo File.

Licensed product categories include men’s, women’s and youth game jerseys and t-shirts, player murals, figurines, matted and framed photos, bobbleheads, drinkware, socks, jewelry, electronic device accessories, among others. According to the report, Brady outsold all players in Oyo Sports mini-figures, Forever Collectibles bobbleheads (followed by teammate Rob Gronkowski), Fatheads and Lids custom player headwear.

Gronkowski (No. 14) and Julian Edelman (No. 35) were the only other Patriots to appear in the Top 50.

Read More: Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady,
NFLPA spokesman: ‘We’re all anxious’ to hear how Roger Goodell will rule in Tom Brady’s appeal 07.23.15 at 10:19 pm ET
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As the days tick down toward the start of training camp next week, the National Football League Players Association is like everyone else in that it is simply looking for some sort of clarity around what’€™s going to happen to Tom Brady.

Thursday marked the one-month anniversary of Brady’€™s appeal hearing with commissioner Roger Goodell in New York, and while Patriots’€™ training camp is set to commence next week in Foxboro, there’€™s no sense yet regarding the status of Brady, who still faces a four-game ban for his alleged role in Deflategate.

NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Atallah, who indicated that the sort of settlement talks that have apparently gone on with Brady are “part of the normal course of how we do business”€ in order to avoid an extended court fight, said Thursday that “we’€™re all anxious”€ for a decision from the commissioner.

“œI know we’€™re all anxious for some sort of a decision here as training camps open up next week,” Atallah told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “As far as the specifics of who offered a settlement, was a settlement offered, I wish I could provide more. The only thing I can say is, we’€™re looking forward to getting some closure on this sometime soon.”

Read More: Deflategate, NFLPA, roger goodell, Tom Brady
Report: Tom Brady would consider accepting fine in Deflategate case at 10:52 am ET
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For once in at least a few weeks, more and more is coming out regarding the appeal of Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension.

Late Wednesday night there was a Pro Football Talk report saying there have been settlement talk discussions between Brady’s legal team and the NFL, but no progress has been made. Thursday morning there was an ESPN report stating the same — the NFLPA had offered a settlement to the NFL, but it was rejected.

The report did add a new piece of information.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano says Brady would consider accepting a fine, although he believes Brady will hold firm on refusing to accept any type of suspension.

On Tuesday, commissioner Roger Goodell said there was no timeline on when a decision on Brady’s appeal would be made. His appeal was heard a month ago Thursday — June 23.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Deflategate, roger goodell, Tom Brady,
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