While Tom Brady has ended his legal fight with Deflategate, the NFLPA may still continue.

While Tom Brady has ended his legal fight with Deflategate, the NFLPA may still continue.

Here is a statement from the NFLPA Friday afternoon: After careful consideration and discussion with Tom Brady, the NFLPA will not be seeking a stay of the four game suspension with the 2nd Circuit. This decision was made in the interest of certainty and planning for Tom prior to the New England Patriots season. We will continue to review all of our options and we reserve our rights to petition for cert to the Supreme Court.

This is a move likely for the NFLPA to challenge the power commissioner Roger Goodell has. It just means Brady is no longer involved in the case.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Deflategate is over.

Posting a statement on Facebook, Tom Brady said his legal fight is over with Deflategate and he will not appeal to the Supreme Court. He will miss the first four games of the 2016 season. Earlier this week the Second Circuit did not grant he and the NFLPA’s request for a rehearing.

Deflategate is over.

Posting a statement on Facebook, Tom Brady said his legal fight is over with Deflategate and he will not appeal to the Supreme Court. He will miss the first four games of the 2016 season. Earlier this week the Second Circuit did not grant he and the NFLPA’s request for a rehearing.

The statement reads: 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.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Devin McCourty was a first-round pick out of Rutgers in 2010. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Devin McCourty was a first-round pick out of Rutgers in 2010. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

As the countdown to training camp begins later this month, we’re looking at the 20 most important members of the Patriots heading into 2016.

7. Safety Devin McCourty
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 186 pounds
Age: 28 (will turn 29 on Aug. 13)

Resume: At this point in his career, McCourty’s track record is fairly well established. A first-round pick out of Rutgers in 2010, he started at cornerback (and played very well as a rookie) before making the switch to safety in 2012. He was second-team AP All-Pro in 2010 and 2013, and received similar nods from Pro Football Focus in 2012 (second team) and 2013 (first team). His best year statistically came as a rookie when he finished with seven interceptions, and his 18 career picks are 27th on the active list.

Why we ranked him here: It can be startlingly easy to forget about McCourty — he doesn’t have the cache of some of his other, high-profile teammates — but with the departure of foundational elements like Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, he’s become one of the most important parts of the New England defense. (Based on his complete body of work, we’ll give him a mulligan for a forgettable 2011.) Having worked with a revolving door of defensive backs since he arrived in 2010, he’s done well playing off the varying talents of everyone from Aqib Talib to Darrelle Revis to fellow safeties like Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon. The bottom line is that McCourty’s special teams value (he’ll occasionally get a random rep as a returner), his versatility (he’s a safety, but still has excellent coverage skills in the slot) and leadership all combine to make him absolutely essential to the success of the Patriots’ defense. That’s why we have him here in our top 10.

Quote: “To be able to cover that much ground and have that kind of range as a post safety is remarkable. I see that every day in practice. You really have to look Devin off. He’s really smart — he sees combinations, and sometimes you try to look him off and he knows you’re trying to look him off so he doesn’t take it. There are other times he gets great jumps on the ball. The longer he’s been at safety, the better he’s done. He’s really been a consistent player for our team. He knocks balls away, covers guys in man coverage and then has that range in the deep part of the field where he truly plays like a safety.” — Tom Brady on McCourty

Random note:
McCourty played every single defensive snap in 10 of the 16 regular-season games last year, according to Pro Football Reference. Only Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler (12 games each) had more contests where they played every possible defensive snap. In all, McCourty played 85 percent of the defensive snaps in 2015, third on the team.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Many in New England believe the Patriots could go 3-1 or 2-2 at worst with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback over the first four games of the season with Tom Brady potentially being suspended because of Deflategate.

One Jets player isn't confident in Jimmy Garoppolo leading the Patriots. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

One Jets player isn’t confident in Jimmy Garoppolo leading the Patriots. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Many in New England believe the Patriots could go 3-1 or 2-2 at worst with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback over the first four games of the season with Tom Brady potentially being suspended because of Deflategate.

In New York and with the Jets, they don’t think that’s the case.

“With Tom gone those first four games they could go 2-2 or even 1-3,” an unnamed Jets player told Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. “It’s a good opportunity for us.”

That player isn’t the only player in the league not having confidence in Garoppolo, as earlier in the week Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell said he was licking his chops thinking about facing Garoppolo in Week 1.

“Licking my chops,” Campbell said on CBS Sports Radio’s ‘Tiki and Tierney.’ “You get a rookie quarterback, it’s always exciting when you get a guy like that for his first game because he’s going to be nervous. He’s probably going to be sitting there holding the ball a little longer or trying to get rid of it quick, throwing bad balls. As a vet, we definitely pride ourselves on welcoming [quarterbacks] the right way.”

The Jets don’t play the Patriots until Week 12.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Dion Lewis was an offensive revelation for the Patriots in 2015. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today)

Dion Lewis was an offensive revelation for the Patriots in 2015. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today)

As the countdown to training camp begins later this month, we’re going to take a look at the 20 most important members of the Patriots heading into 2016.

8. Running back Dion Lewis
Height: 5-foot-8
Weight: 195 pounds
Age: 25 (will turn 26 on Sept. 27)

Resume: A fifth-round pick out of Pitt by the Eagles in 2011, a combination of health issues and poor coaching decisions left him struggling to find a full-time job over his first few seasons. (Prior to his arrival in New England last year, his best season was likely 2011, when he rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown for Philly.) A knee injury left him on the shelf for the better part of 2013 and 2014, but when the Browns eventually gave up on him last offseason, the Patriots reached out to the free agent. (Thanks Mike Lombardi!) In seven games last year, Lewis was an offensive revelation, rushing for 234 yards on 49 carries and two touchdowns, while catching 36 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns and revealing himself to be a truly dynamic playmaker. He went down with a season-ending knee injury in a November win over the Redskins, but there’s apparently reason to be optimistic about his situation heading into 2016.

Why we ranked him here: We were cautious about putting Lewis in our top 10 “most important” for 2016 — after all, a seven-game track record is a bit thin. But when you consider his electrifying presence in the New England backfield last year and how much the third-down game struggled after he was shelved for 2015, this feels appropriate. (If he had played all 16 games, you could make an argument to rank him even higher.) The Patriots have a few similar body types who might be able to step in as needed if Lewis goes down again for an extended stretch, or if he’s not able to start the year at 100 percent because of last year’s knee injury. But none will be able to bring the sort of elusiveness, speed and sure hands out of the backfield that Lewis is capable of delivering.

Quote: “I think the first thought was ‘Wow, where did you come from?’ He’s doing his thing. I can’t believe that he looks similar; he does a lot of the same things [as me]. Coming back from the injury, he’s already been a part of this situation already before, so I think for him to look to anybody else I think that would be the wrong thing because you have insight on it already so I think he’s going to be all right. I think he’s done a lot of great things already this offseason to get his health back to the form where he knows he can perform at the NFL level, but he’s an outstanding kid when you talk to him and understand who he is and where he’s come from. You understand that he still has a lot to offer.” —Pats Hall of Famer Kevin Faulk on his thoughts watching Lewis last year and what advice he’d give him as he attempts to return from injury

Random note: Per Ryan Hannable, when Lewis was on the field last season prior to his knee injury, the Patriots averaged 6.47 yards per play. In that same stretch, when Lewis wasn’t on the field, the Patriots averaged 5.25 yards per play — more than a full yard difference.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Dion Lewis was an offensive revelation for the Patriots in 2015. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today)

Dion Lewis was an offensive revelation for the Patriots in 2015. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today)

As the countdown to training camp begins later this month, we’re going to take a look at the 20 most important members of the Patriots heading into 2016.

8. Running back Dion Lewis
Height: 5-foot-8
Weight: 195 pounds
Age: 25 (will turn 26 on Sept. 27)

Resume: A fifth-round pick out of Pitt by the Eagles in 2011, a combination of health issues and poor coaching decisions left him struggling to find a full-time job over his first few seasons. (Prior to his arrival in New England last year, his best season was likely 2011, when he rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown for Philly.) A knee injury left him on the shelf for the better part of 2013 and 2014, but when the Browns eventually gave up on him last offseason, the Patriots reached out to the free agent. (Thanks Mike Lombardi!) In seven games last year, Lewis was an offensive revelation, rushing for 234 yards on 49 carries and two touchdowns, while catching 36 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns and revealing himself to be a truly dynamic playmaker. He went down with a season-ending knee injury in a November win over the Redskins, but there’s apparently reason to be optimistic about his situation heading into 2016.

Why we ranked him here: We were cautious about putting Lewis in our top 10 “most important” for 2016 — after all, a seven-game track record is a bit thin. But when you consider his electrifying presence in the New England backfield last year and how much the third-down game struggled after he was shelved for 2015, this feels appropriate. (If he had played all 16 games, you could make an argument to rank him even higher.) The Patriots have a few similar body types who might be able to step in as needed if Lewis goes down again for an extended stretch, or if he’s not able to start the year at 100 percent because of last year’s knee injury. But none will be able to bring the sort of elusiveness, speed and sure hands out of the backfield that Lewis is capable of delivering.

Quote: “I think the first thought was ‘Wow, where did you come from?’ He’s doing his thing. I can’t believe that he looks similar; he does a lot of the same things [as me]. Coming back from the injury, he’s already been a part of this situation already before, so I think for him to look to anybody else I think that would be the wrong thing because you have insight on it already so I think he’s going to be all right. I think he’s done a lot of great things already this offseason to get his health back to the form where he knows he can perform at the NFL level, but he’s an outstanding kid when you talk to him and understand who he is and where he’s come from. You understand that he still has a lot to offer.” —Pats Hall of Famer Kevin Faulk on his thoughts watching Lewis last year and what advice he’d give him as he attempts to return from injury

Random note: Per Ryan Hannable, when Lewis was on the field last season prior to his knee injury, the Patriots averaged 6.47 yards per play. In that same stretch, when Lewis wasn’t on the field, the Patriots averaged 5.25 yards per play — more than a full yard difference.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and NBC Sports checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning to discuss the latest with Deflategate.