10:37am: Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) that Goodell actually said the decision on Brady will “hopefully” happen soon. Asked if it could happen next week, Goodell replied, “I don’t know. Could be.” That sort of bet-hedging, non-definitive answer sounds more like the commissioner, and leaves the door open for the process to drag on a little longer.
10:27am: Commissioner Roger Goodell, who also acted as the arbitrator in Tom Brady‘s appeal hearing last month, said today that he expects to announce a decision on the case soon, perhaps as early as next week, according to Julia Boorstin of CNBC (Twitter link).
The appeal hearing for Brady’s four-game suspension took place on Tuesday, June 23, meaning we’ve waited more than two weeks so far for a ruling. Of course, the hearing for Greg Hardy‘s appeal of his 10-game suspension happened six weeks ago, and arbitrator Harold Henderson has yet to announce a decision in that case, so it would’ve been a surprise if Brady’s case had been wrapped up by now.
The NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for the arbitrator for an appeal to make his decision “as soon as practicable,” which leaves some wiggle room to drag out the process. Still, I imagine the league isn’t eager to continue to extend a DeflateGate saga that has dominated headlines this offseason, so Goodell figures to announce his decision before training camps get underway.
Of course, the commissioner’s ruling won’t necessarily mean that the issue can be laid to rest. Brady and the NFLPA will have the opportunity to file suit against the league if they’re not happy with the decision, challenging Goodell’s role in the process and the NFL’s decision to suspend Brady without any hard evidence of his involvement in deflating footballs. Patriots owner Robert Kraft opted not fight a legal battle against the league over New England’s DeflateGate penalties, but there’s no indication that Brady will go that same route.