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The NFL announced the results of Tom Brady's appeal on Tuesday, and they say his 4-game suspension will stand.

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Patriots Safety Duron Harmon on Getting Back to Work for 2015 – ‘I’m ready to go’

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted May 29, 2015 at 5:00 am

Here’s a recent interview with Patriots safety Duron Harmon, who talked to Russ Goldman and Steve Balestrieri recently about a variety of topics, including an upcoming football camp he’ll be a part of hosting along with several other Patriots players at UMASS Lowell from July 12-15.

If you have a youth football player and you’d like to look into getting them registered for what should be a terrific experience, you can sign them up by Clicking This Link.

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PF: Joining us now is Patriots safety Duron Harmon. Duron, welcome to PatriotsFourthAndTwo!

DH: Thank you for having me, it’s an honor to be on the show today.

PF: Well it’s great to have you on Duron. Let’s start here, I want to ask you several questions. You’re going to be participating in the Sports international football academy, which takes place at UMASS Lowell from July 12-15. Tell us about this academy and what campers have to look forward to during the camp?

DH: Well, I was able to partake in it on a minor role last year with Aqib Talib and just go out there for a day or two and spend some time with the campers, just trying to show them some things that I’ve learned on my journey to the NFL. I think it’s a weekend camp if I’m not mistaken, 4 or 5 days you get to work on your offensive game, defensive game, just build on your knowledge and learning, not only from NFL players, but from coaches who know the game as well. Just enhancing your abilities to play the game. It’s a fun time, you meet new people, and you get to have a great time and just play football, what we love to do each and every day for four days. It’s a four day grind and it’s amazing. If I had this when I was in high school, and even younger, I definitely would have went.

PF: That’s great, and I noticed that a few of your teammates are going to be joining you as well.

DH: Yes, definitely. We’ve got Dont’a Hightower coming, Chris Jones, I believe [Dominique] Easley’s coming as well, some other guys are coming, I can’t name them all off the top of my head, but it’s going to be a bunch of us out there who are eager to work with these kids and these younger adults because we know that it’s an important time, especially for the high schoolers, it’s an important time for them, they’re trying to get ready to perfect their craft, get better at their craft, continue to get better, try to get ready to go play in college. So it’s a great time, an enjoyable time, it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to have a lot of interaction between us and the campers.

PF: Listen, talking about working with people, during the season one of the things that tends to get unnoticed is a lot of the charity work you guys do on your off days. Can you talk a little bit about some of the things you did last season, some of the organizations that you enjoy supporting?

DH: Well, one organization that I’ve worked with is “Fuel up to Play 60”. It’s a breakfast type program that teaches kids the importance of eating breakfast. So I’ve gotten to go all the way to Vermont, I went to New Hampshire, I’ve been in Massachusetts, schools all around those areas just talking about the idea, basically, “enjoy and eat breakfast so you can have a great day.”

And then I did other things, hospital visits, school visits, Reading across America, just all different types of events that just help us show our faces in the community to let them know that we’re not just NFL players, we are the community as well. We love this community. The way they cheer us on, the way they come out to the games and the way they show us the amount of love, we want to show it back. We love being able to inspire people by going. Like I said, going to a hospital visit, going to a veteran home, going to read books to the children, just that anything that we can do, this organization does a great job of putting us in positions to give back to the community.

PF: That’s great, it sounds like you enjoy giving back and that’s a wonderful trait to have, Duron, honestly.

Alright, let’s move on, let’s now talk some football and before I ask you about the Super Bowl, I want to go back a little further and talk about the AFC Divisional Round against the Ravens, your interception late in the game was crucial to this victory. Walk us through what was going through your mind on the play that changed the playoff game.

DH: Well, it was just knowing the personnel. You see Tori Smith coming out of the huddle, him and Joe Flacco had, like, an extended look. I took a peek out there when the play was developing and saw that Tori Smith took an outside release. I looked back at Joe Flacco and he is really staring over there, so I’m trying to make my way over there and you see the ball released, and I’m like, “Ok, I’m right here, just come down with the ball, just catch the ball, come down with it, focus on catching this ball, and then we’re getting this game this way.” It really was that, just me focusing on squeezing the ball and just taking a knee in the end zone. The way the crowd erupted in the stadium was amazing. I’ve never heard a stadium, probably that loud until Malcolm [Butler’s] interception in the Super Bowl. But that right there was an amazing feeling and I’m just happy and thankful and blessed that I was able to make that play.

PF: Let’s talk about the Super Bowl. Just share with us your thoughts and emotions after Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson which turned out to be the difference in the game, what happened right afterwards?

DH: To be honest, I ran on the field. I just ran on the field and I was in on the pile that was literally probably suffocating Malcolm. He probably couldn’t breathe. There was about 10 of us, probably about 12, maybe about 15 of us on him. It was crazy because a couple plays before, I’m in on the play where the ball takes a crazy bounce. I think the ball hits off the ground, so I jump over [Seahawks receiver Jermaine] Kearse and Malcolm, and then I turn around and I see Kearse is up. Like, literally, my heart is broken on the sideline because I feel like I let the team down, I felt like I let up. But then that play literally lifted me back up. I just had to run on the field, I really couldn’t believe it. It couldn’t have been a better ending to a story. When everybody thinks a game is over, Malcolm comes out and makes a tremendous play.

PF: Steve and I were down for minicamp, we saw Malcolm Butler shine a little bit at minicamp and then also at training camp. Was this an often occurance that you guys would see in practice with Malcolm Butler being able to make plays?

DH: Oh yes, definitely. Every week, he got his hand on a ball in practice either if it was when he was playing our defense or when we were on the scout team, his hands were always on the ball and it was something that we saw when he came in minicamp and OTA’s, he always had his hands on the ball and you could tell that he was going to be a special player then. It was just the amount of time that it would take for him just to keep learning the defense and keep learning the terminology of the defense and keep working to get better and you could just see the transition from when he was there in minicamp to the end of the season and the sky is really the limit for him.

PF: Duron, I know last season you stayed here all through the offseason and you did your workouts. Did you do the same thing this season, or did you go down to Arizona? I know a lot of the guys went down there this year…

DH: I did both. I trained here, as usual, but then one week this spring I went to Arizona to see what everybody was talking about and how good the training was out there and it was amazing. It’s something that I definitely plan on doing in the future. A couple weeks probably before camp, a week in the spring, just going out there, probably working out with my guys, Devin, Logan [Ryan], Tavon [Wilson]. We’ve all been out there and it was great to work out with your teammates with just no distraction and just getting after it. It kind of felt like college a little bit again. We were all staying together, all living together, and then we go work out. Then we just chill around, have a good time, play video games, listen to music and stuff like that. Eat together, so it’s been good. It’s a great bonding time too, so it’s something that I’m definitely looking forward to doing again.

PF: I know that you guys had a very short spring this year because you’re already right back into the workouts. How are you feeling physically? Are you feeling like you’re ready to go?

DH: I mean, the good thing about me is I’m still young. I don’t really feel too bad right now. You probably have to ask the older guys, they’re the ones that might not feel too good. But I’m feeling great. I’m ready to go and I’m really, really looking forward to this season to get starting up again.

PF: I have to ask you a question about another charity you were involved in. On May 1st you and Patrick Chung had a “World of Taste” for Charity, who’s the better chef?

DH: I would say me. I feel like we really did get cheated in the tasting, but I won’t go too much in detail in that, I’ll just let that be. But I would just say that was an amazing event, it was so much fun. Being able to bring that many people there, raise money, and have a good time doing it, you really can’t beat that. Everybody was there, they were nice, just being able to cook in front of everybody. I really felt like I was a chef even though I really wasn’t doing too much. I was letting Chef Josh, who I was working with, I was trying to let him do everything. I had my gloves on, I didn’t do the apron, I should have, maybe we would have won if I had done the apron. But it was an amazing event, it was a great night and it was a great turnout.

PF: I did see that, I didn’t get a chance to go down there but I wanted to find out who the next great chef is on the Patriots?

DH: We’ll say Patrick for right now. But next year, if we’re fortunate enough to do it again, he’s going down.

Once again, if you have a youth football player and you’d like to look into getting them registered for what should be a terrific experience, or if you have a friend who may have a child playing football, you can sign them up by Clicking This Link.

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VIDEO: 2015 Patriots Player Preview Series – Julian Edelman

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted May 28, 2015 at 7:00 am

With the 2015 Patriots Training Camp now just a couple of months away, we’re going to be putting together a series of videos previewing a variety of Patriots players and today’s features veteran wide receiver receiver Julian Edelman:

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Patriots DL Malcom Brown Focused As He Gets To Work With His New Team

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted at 5:00 am

Brown was introduced to the media on Wednesday. (USA TODAY Images)

As they do every year, the Patriots introduced this year’s first round selection to the media on Wednesday, with Malcom Brown on hand at Gillette Stadium as he gets ready to begin his life as a member of the Patriots.

Brown, who was selected 32nd overall during the NFL Draft, spent 10 minutes speaking to the media and seemed pretty upbeat while letting everyone know he’s looking forward to begin getting to work.

“We got in here two weeks ago on Thursday. Just right away from the get-go you see the hard work and you see everything just thrown at you, so you’ve got to grasp it and go,” said Brown.

The rookie also said that he’s been welcomed by the guys in the locker room, who he says have taken him under their wing thus far, making the acclimation process a little easier for him.

“Everybody is taking me under their wing and everybody just wants you to work hard,” said Brown.  “Really you don’t have a choice but to work hard because everybody’s going to compete.”

“Everybody wants you to work hard and help the team win games. As long as you’ve got that mindset, everybody’s happy with you.”

So far his impressions of head coach Bill Belichick have been positive, with the rookie admitting he’s been getting a little bit of “tough love”, which isn’t a bad thing.

“Great guy,” said Brown.  “He’s my new coach now and he shows everybody a lot of love – tough love – and sometimes you need that.”

The expectations will certainly be high for him heading into his rookie season.  He was a disruptive player in college, finishing with 70 tackles in 2014 including 13 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks.  That’s exactly the type of player the Patriots need in their defensive to compliment guys like Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich.  Considering the losses they’ve dealt with in the secondary, having players who can cut down the amount of time opposing quarterbacks have to throw is going to be critical as they try and defend their Super Bowl title.

For now Brown isn’t letting himself get caught up with being in a locker room with great names or being around guys who were Super Bowl heroes. He just seems focused on becoming a champion himself and he’s trying to adapt the work ethic that he seems to understand is what will help him take the next step.

“I can’t be a good teammate if I’m focused on all that stuff, this and that,” said Brown.  “I just go to work. I just use their work ethic to help mine and adapt to theirs because they work hard every day and go to work.”

Willie McGinest Headed to Patriots Hall of Fame

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted May 26, 2015 at 6:34 pm

McGinest becomes the newest addition to the Patriots Hall of Fame. (USA TODAY Images)

There have been a lot of great players over the years here in New England, and the Patriots are about to induct a couple of terrific ones into an elite group later this year.

The team announced on Tuesday that former defensive end Willie McGinest along with defensive lineman Houston Antwine will be the newest additions to The Hall at Patriots Place presented by Raytheon later this summer, although no date has been confirmed.

McGinest spent 12-seasons in New England after being drafted in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft, just one year after the Patriots selected Drew Bledsoe with the first overall selection in 1993.  The two were key parts of helping put New England back on the map as an elite franchise, with McGinest later also becoming a key part of a defensive group that helped win three titles in 2001, 2003 and 2004.

Bledsoe was inducted back in 2011, and now McGinest will don a red jacket of his own.

Antwine was with the team from 1961 through 1971, although he’ll be honored posthumously after having passed away in December of 2011 at the age of 72.  He was selected back in April by the senior selection committee.

The induction of McGinest is significant because he was the first player taken after Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994.

“Just a few months after I bought the Patriots, we drafted Willie McGinest in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft in a statement on Tuesday. “We came into the NFL together and will always share a special bond. During his 12-year Patriots career, Willie played a critical role in transforming us from a cellar dweller into a championship-caliber team.

“He was a leader of a defensive unit that propelled the Patriots to our first Super Bowl Championship in 2001.  His leadership during the season and dominance in the postseason proved principal to our success in winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. Willie was a part of so many memorable moments for Patriots fans during his career. Now, I am looking forward to Patriots fans giving Willie a memorable moment as we celebrate his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame.”

When a date is announced, the event, as it is every year, will be free to the public to attend. McGinest also will reportedly be honored during a halftime ceremony this year.

Tom Brady’s Starting Streak In Jeopardy If Suspension Holds

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted May 25, 2015 at 11:11 am

2008 was definitely a long time ago.

The season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs was memorable for all the wrong reasons that year, with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffering a season-ending knee injury mere moments into the game.  It was hard to imagine coming off of an undefeated regular season, especially with all the pieces still in place to potentially run the table again, that Brady’s season would be cut short so soon. Yet after having not missed a game since taking over in 2001, it was a harsh reminder of how quickly things can change.

It’s been a long time since someone other than Tom Brady has been under center for New England. (USA TODAY Images)

Here we are years later and Brady is coming off of winning his fourth title, which had eluded this team for a decade. This should have been an enjoyable time for both he and the fans here in New England, especially given all the obstacles they overcame during the year to get there.  However, instead of being able to enjoy the accolades that typically accompany a championship win, Brady’s offseason has been shrouded with accusations and an investigation (one in which Ted Wells admitted millions of dollars were spent…which is still mind-boggling) all over how 1 psi was missing from footballs.

As it stands right now Brady’s currently facing a four game suspension over that debacle, although that story still has a long way to play out before we know the outcome.  Hopefully fans will see that number reduced, but if Brady does miss a game, it will end a pretty good streak he’s had going since coming back from his knee injury.

Up until that injury Brady hadn’t missed a game since taking over as the Patriots’ signal caller, and he’s been just as reliable since returning.  Brady is currently ranked fourth in the NFL in consecutive regular season games played among quarterbacks with 96, trailing the Giants’ Eli Manning (167), San Diego’s Philip Rivers (145) and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (112).

If he’s forced to sit out, that streak obviously comes to an end.  Brady’s a guy who hates not being on the field, but if the NFLPA and his legal team can’t get this overturned, he may not have much of a choice.

Owner Robert Kraft put down his gloves last week against the league but the fight seems to be just getting started for the veteran quarterback.  Brady has been quiet since the investigation and said a couple of weeks ago that he would be saying something “soon” about this mess, although to this point he hasn’t said a word since.

For now we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out, but the numbers are a reminder that it’s been a long time since someone other than Brady has taken a meaningful snap under center for New England.  Whether or not he’ll be out there for sixteen games again in 2015 will likely remain the biggest question in the months ahead.

After Kraft’s Announcement, There’s Got to Be More to It Than This

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted May 20, 2015 at 5:00 am

Kraft surprised everyone after ending his fight against the NFL on Tuesday. (USA TODAY Images)

Patriots owner Robert Kraft is one of the smartest guys in the league. He’s been through some difficult times both as an owner here in New England and as an ambassador of the NFL and he’s always come up with a plan of attack that after all was said and done, somehow eventually made sense.

That’s why after what we heard during his announcement on Tuesday, there’s got to be more to his decision to give up his fight against the NFL.

There’s got to be a reason why he believes it’s O.K. to just surrender a 1st and 4th round draft pick over something he seemed to believe with all his heart his team didn’t do. There’s got to be a reason why he’s not willing to continue this battle after he appeared to really feel so strongly that his club was being wrongly accused.

There has to be.

After all, four months ago a defiant Kraft was on a rampage, having seen his team win an AFC Championship and earn a well-deserved Super Bowl berth, only to have it torn down by allegations of intentionally using under-inflated footballs after blowing out the Colts, who we later found out phoned in the report leading up to it.

He led the charge and every Patriots fan lined up behind him.  He was defiant.  He was admirable.  He won over everyone’s hearts when he said in one of the most memorable press conferences that he planned on demanding an apology if the team was cleared of any wrongdoing.

When the Wells report came out a couple of weeks ago, he seemed as though he still believed just as deeply that Tom Brady and his organization weren’t being treated fairly in the investigation, expressing his frustration publicly over it.

“When I addressed the media at the Super Bowl on January 26 — over 14 weeks ago — I stated that I unconditionally believed that the New England Patriots had done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of the NFL rules and that I was disappointed in the way the league handled the initial investigation,” said Kraft.  “That sentiment has not changed.”

“I was convinced that Ted Wells’ investigation would find the same factual evidence supported by both scientific formula and independent research as we did and would ultimately exonerate the Patriots. Based on the explanations I have heard and the studies that have been done, I don’t know how the science of atmospheric conditions can be refuted or how conclusions to the contrary can be drawn without some definitive evidence.”

“To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship Game, would be a gross understatement.”

Kraft was so adamant about his team’s innocence during Deflate-Gate that Tuesday’s announcement came as a surprise. (USA TODAY Images)

Over the weekend Kraft talked to the MMQB’s Peter King, expressing his frustration over the situation, doubting the evidence against them and how they were being treated.  And he sounded seriously angry over it.

“This whole thing has been very disturbing,” Kraft told King. “I’m still thinking things out very carefully. But when you work for something your whole life …

“I just get really worked up. To receive the harshest penalty in league history is just not fair. The anger and frustration with this process, to me, it wasn’t fair. If we’re giving all the power to the NFL and the office of the commissioner, this is something that can happen to all 32 teams. We need to have fair and balanced investigating and reporting. But in this report, every inference went against us … inferences from ambiguous, circumstantial evidence all went against us. That’s the thing that really bothers me.

“If they want to penalize us because there’s an aroma around this? That’s what this feels like. If you don’t have the so-called smoking gun, it really is frustrating. And they don’t have it. This thing never should have risen to this level.”

He’s right, it shouldn’t have.  The only problem is the league chose to mishandle the whole situation from the beginning.  Had they simply sent out a warning to both teams prior to the AFC Championship game and had the referees also properly checked the footballs both before the game, and at halftime (with gauges that both actually worked correctly and gave identical readings…you can’t make this up), this entire situation could have been avoided.  

Instead, that didn’t happen and the NFL took the Colts suspicions and ran with them, all the while failing to put together a proper protocol to fairly deal with it.  By the time it was over their independent investigation seemingly took that premise and crucified the Patriots over two ball boys texting ridiculous things back and forth. The best part was the NFL felt that 100 seconds in a bathroom was enough time to take over a dozen footballs out of a huge equipment bag, put them on a slightly sloped floor, take a little air evenly out of each one, and then put them all back in the bag.  

In 100 seconds. Experts argued that it was enough time in perfect circumstances, but given the readings and how close they were (and they could have potentially been even closer if the two gauges actually worked right) James McNally must have done an incredible job letting out that precise amount of air as he was allegedly furiously flying around with each of those footballs sprawled out all around him in that time frame.

That seems pretty unlikely, but it didn’t matter. Those two things were enough to reach a conclusion that it was “more probable than not” it happened and that somehow Brady was guilty for being “generally aware” of it.  The more I type that, the more ridiculous it sounds each and every time I do it.

Kraft seemed to feel the same way.  When the Patriots got upset and Kraft essentially declared war on the league, the battle seemed to be on and most fans out there stood behind him as he took on the multi-billionaire behemoth that is the NFL.  He was leading the march right down to New York, a place most people tend to strongly dislike anyway since it houses one of their AFC East rivals as well as another team they share a stadium with who twice stole Super Bowls in the closing seconds, one of which ruined a potentially perfect season.

There was talk he’d even take the league to court.  This sounded like a man so determined that he believed his team was innocent, that the sincerity he spoke with was beyond inspiring.  He’s been a guy who has always put the fans at the top of the list and now they were rallying behind both he and Brady more than ever before.   The best part was, it looked like the only man potentially powerful enough to take down Roger Goodell was poised to launch one of the biggest assaults in the history of the league and every fan in this region, and around the country, were ready to follow him into this epic fight.

Just three days ago he told King that he truly believed they didn’t do anything wrong, questioning the evidence – or the lack thereof – most notably the recollection of Walt Anderson and the fact that things like logic and science were ignored.

“Anderson has a pregame recollection of what gauge he used, and it’s disregarded, and the [Wells] Report just assumes he uses the other gauge,” Kraft told King. “Footballs have never been measured at halftime of any other game in NFL history. They have no idea how much footballs go down in cold weather or expand in warm weather. There is just no evidence that tampering with the footballs ever happened.”

Now here we are, just days later and their looming battle is suddenly no more.  Somewhere between Saturday and Tuesday something happened, and Kraft changed his mind.  As he spoke on Tuesday, what seemed to weigh heavily on him was whether or not he wanted to undergo what would likely be a long, drawn out battle that he didn’t sound ready for.

“I have two options: I can try to end it or extend it,” said Kraft on Tuesday.  “I have given a lot of thought to both options. The first thing that came to mind is 21 years ago, I had the privilege of going to a meeting similar to what we’re at here, in Orlando, and being welcomed in an NFL owners’ meeting. Here’s a fan and a former season ticket holder living a dream and being welcomed in that room. I got goosebumps that day. I vowed at that time that I would do everything that I could do to make the New England Patriots an elite team and hopefully respected throughout the country and at the same time, do whatever I could do to try to help the NFL become the most popular sport in America.”

“Before I make a final decision, I measure nine times and I cut once. I think maybe if I had made the decision last week it would be different than it is today. But believing in the strength of the partnership and the 32 teams, we have concentrated the power of adjudication of problems in the office of the commissioner. Although I might disagree with what is decided, I do have respect for the Commissioner and believe that he’s doing what he perceives to be in the best interest of the full 32.”

At that point, most fans braced themselves for what they hoped wasn’t coming.  But it did.

“So, in that spirit, I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months,” continued Kraft.  “I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric. We won’t appeal.”

Just like that, the battle was over.

It’s hard to understand, but the decision to accept the punishment is essentially an admission of guilt, whether most people, Kraft included, like it or not.  That’s hard to endure given that he just got everyone ready to follow him through whatever war was waiting, only to surrender without a shot being fired.

Now it’s just his quarterback continuing the fight, and Brady seems ready to see this through to the end.  His lawyers and the NFLPA seem to be gearing up for whatever obstacles remain ahead of them, and with a four game suspension staring him down, the hope now is that somehow they’ll get that ridiculous penalty thrown out.

Some believe Kraft’s decision to give up was a move done in good faith to hopefully buy his signal-caller an opportunity to be on the field for the season opener.  Other reports seem to signal the contrary, but the only one who truly knows the reasons behind Tuesday’s speech is Kraft.

But there’s got to be more to it than we know.  There has to be.

For now most fans are frustrated and confused, and rightly so.  But the story still needs to play out a little longer for us to truly know what his plan really is.

Kraft ended his speech Tuesday saying that he hopes fans trust his judgement.

“I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision,” said Kraft. “But I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans and the NFL. I hope you all can respect that.”

It would just make it a little easier if we could understand it.

Hopefully we’ll eventually find out there’s more to this and it will all eventually make sense. Because up until right now, none of it, from the entire time this ridiculous mess blew up, and what just happened Tuesday, has made any sense at all.

Brady’s Agent Responds, “The Discipline is Ridiculous”

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted May 11, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady saw his agent, Don Yee, release a statement on Monday night in response to the league’s suspension of his client and he’s not impressed with the NFL’s penalty coming off of last week’s release of the Wells report.

Yee believes the four game suspension will get overturned in front of a “neutral” judge or arbitrator.

“The discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis,” wrote Yee via ESPN Boston.  “In my opinion, this outcome was pre-determined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever.  There is no evidence that Tom directed footballs be set at pressures below the allowable limits.  In fact, the evidence shows Tom clearly emphasized that footballs be set at pressures within the rules.  Tom also cooperated with the investigation and answered every question presented to him.  The Wells report presents significant evidence, however, that the NFL lacks standards or protocols with respect to its handling of footballs prior to games; this is not the fault of Tom or the Patriots.  The report also presents significant evidence the NFL participated with the Colts in some type of pre-AFC Championship Game planning regarding the footballs.  This fact may raise serious questions about the integrity of the games we view on Sundays.  We will appeal, and if the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells Report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding and logic.  The NFL has a well-documented history of making poor disciplinary decisions that often are overturned when truly independent and neutral judges or arbitrators preside, and a former federal judge has found the commissioner has abused his discretion in the past, so this outcome does not surprise me.  Sadly, today’s decision diminishes the NFL as it tells its fans, players and coaches that the games on the field don’t count as much as the games played on Park Avenue.”

NFL’s Troy Vincent’s Letter to Tom Brady: “You were at least generally aware”

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted at 6:53 pm

The league published the letter sent from NFL Executive President Troy Vincent, who informed him of his punishment that includes being suspended for the first four games of the upcoming 2015 season.

Here’s a look at what was sent to Brady via the NFL’s PR department:

“With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge. Moreover, the report documents your failure to cooperate fully and candidly with the investigation, including by refusing to produce any relevant electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information, and by providing testimony that the report concludes was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.

“Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football. The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league, and requires unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules. Each player, no matter how accomplished and otherwise respected, has an obligation to comply with the rules and must be held accountable for his actions when those rules are violated and the public’s confidence in the game is called into question.”

Full NFL Release on The Punishment for Brady, Patriots

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted at 6:46 pm

The league released an official statement via their PR department following the suspension and penalty imposed on Tom Brady and the Patriots, and here’s a look at the full release from the NFL:

“The New England Patriots were notified today of the following discipline that has been imposed for violations of the NFL Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules relating to the use of under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game of this past season:

For the violation of the playing rules and the failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation, the New England Patriots are fined $1 million and will forfeit the club’s first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and the club’s fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. If the Patriots have more than one selection in either of these rounds, the earlier selection shall be forfeited. The club may not trade or otherwise encumber these selections.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft advised Commissioner Roger Goodell last week that Patriots employees John Jastremski and James McNally have been indefinitely suspended without pay by the club, effective on May 6th. Neither of these individuals may be reinstated without the prior approval of NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. If they are reinstated by the Patriots, Jastremski is prohibited from having any role in the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs to be used in NFL games during the 2015 season. McNally is barred from serving as a locker room attendant for the game officials, or having any involvement with the preparation, supervision, or handling of footballs or any other equipment on game day.

Quarterback Tom Brady will be suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL. Brady may participate in all off-season, training camp and pre-season activities, including pre-season games.

Commissioner Goodell authorized the discipline that was imposed by NFL Executive President Troy Vincent, pursuant to the commissioner’s disciplinary authority under the NFL Constitution and Bylaws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association.

“We reached these decisions after extensive discussion with Troy Vincent and many others,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game and the thoroughness and independence of the Wells report.”

NFL Hands Out Penalty: Brady Suspended Four Games, Patriots Lose Two Picks

Written by: Ian Logue
Posted at 5:54 pm

The NFL dropped the hammer in a big way on Monday, likely kicking off a declaration of war between the league and one of their all-time greats after handing down their penalty for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the league has decided to severely penalize Brady and the Patriots, hitting him with a four game suspension, but it doesn’t stop there.  They’re also reportedly taking away New England’s first round pick in 2016, and a fourth round selection in 2017, as well as hitting the team with a $1-million fine.

As Schefter points out, the four game penalty would cause Brady to be a spectator until week five when the team heads to Indianapolis in a Sunday night battle against the Colts.

One would have to believe this suspension won’t fully stand and that Brady will likely be back sooner following an appeal with the NFLPA.  Brady said during his appearance at Salem State last week he’d have a response, “hopefully soon.”  Now we’ll have to see how he and agent Don Yee will handle this, and it should definitely be quite a battle considering the severity of the penalty given the lack of concrete evidence the league has against him.  Contact Us | Advertise With Us | Privacy Policy | Story Index | Patriots Player Official Twitter Accounts | New England Patriots News

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