CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has ended his legal battle against the NFL in the "Deflategate" case. He will accept his four-game suspension and make his season debut Oct. 9 against the Browns at First Energy Stadium.
Brady posted the news on his Facebook page on Friday:
"I'm very grateful for the overwhelming support I've received from Mr. Kraft, the Kraft family, coach Belichick, my coaches and teammates, the NFLPA, my agents, my loving family and most of all, our fans. It has been a challenging 18 months and I have made the difficult decision to no longer proceed with the legal process. I'm going to work hard to be the best player I can be for the New England Patriots and I look forward to having the opportunity to return to the field this fall."
Brady had considered taking his fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejected Brady's latest appeal of the suspension on Wednesday.
The issue goes back to a January 2015 playoff game against the Colts, when the footballs the Patriots used in the first half were found to have been deflated. Former Browns return man Josh Cribbs was on that Colts team, along with former Browns linebacker D'qwell Jackson.
It was Jackson who tipped authorities off about the deflated footballs, as Cribbs recounted with Cleveland 19 News on Thursday.
"It was funny, D'Qwell Jackson was the one who found out the footballs (were affected), and a lot of people think, 'Oh, they just deflate the balls, nothing to it,' but it does create a difference," Cribbs said. "It is an advantage when you do it. Bernie (Kosar) will tell you, when the ball is deflated a little bit, it is an advantage in the cold weather. The ball changes in cold weather. It's harder to throw, it's harder to catch. But their ball was easier, so that's something."
Cribbs fumbled a punt early in the first quarter of that playoff game, leading to a Patriots touchdown. But Pats supporters point out that 28 of their 45 points came in the second half, after the footballs were at regulation pressure. Cribbs is quick to still credit the Patriots for their lopsided 45-7 win.
"I just don't want to take anything away from that team. They were the better team. They won. But that was an infraction that they're paying for."
And Brady's paying the biggest price. After a year and a half of legal battles, he'll sit out the first four games of the 2016 season.
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