1:00pm: A “high-ranking” NFL source tells Greg A. Bedard of SI.com (Twitter link) that Kraft’s decision not to appeal doesn’t come attached to any sort of deal for Brady.
12:17pm: While Tom Brady and the NFLPA continue to work through the appeal process for reducing Brady’s four-game suspension, the Patriots organization won’t fight the discipline handed down to the team by the NFL, owner Robert Kraft told reporters today. As Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, Kraft said his club would “reluctantly” accept the penalties levied by the league.
Besides suspending Brady for four games, the NFL also fined the Patriots $1MM, and took away the team’s first-round pick in 2016 and its fourth-round pick in 2017. The franchise would have had until this coming Thursday to appeal those penalties, but Kraft eliminated any suspense with today’s announcement, after admitting that his only two options were to end the drama or to extend it (Twitter link via Peter Schrager of Fox Sports).
In the wake of Kraft’s decision and announcement, it’s possible that Brady will stand down when it comes to fighting his own suspension, perhaps agreeing to a deal with the NFL. NFLPA spokesman George Atallah has tweeted that Brady’s appeal won’t be affected by Kraft’s decision, though the quarterback himself could decide to withdraw it. So far, there’s been no indication that will happen, but it’s fair to wonder – as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk did (via Twitter) – if those reported “back-channel” talks between the league and the Pats will result in a reduced suspension for Brady now that the team has accepted its punishment.
Prior to today, there had been some uncertainty about whether the Pats would challenge the league’s ruling. While Kraft originally released a statement earlier this month suggesting that he planned to accept the league’s findings and its decision, the team was reportedly surprised and angered by the severity of the penalties. As Albert Breer of the NFL Network tweets, Kraft admitted in today’s statement that, “If I made the decision last week, it would be different than it is today.”