The NFL has come down against the Ravens.

Earlier this month, the Ravens held rookie minicamp practices in pads, which is against NFL rules. On Thursday, the NFL imposed the discipline against the organization and coach Jim Harbaugh.

As a team, they have to forfeit one week of their organized team activities, which had been scheduled June 1-3. In addition, the team was fined $343,057 and Harbaugh was fined $137,223, according to ESPN’s Jim Trotter.

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Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Roger Goodell reaffirmed the league's commitment to concussion research. (Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports)

Roger Goodell reaffirmed the league’s commitment to concussion research. (Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports)

On Thursday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter obtained a letter Roger Goodell sent to the owners and presidents of the NFL’s 32 teams where he emphasized the league’s commitment to the treatment of head injuries and independent medical research.

Following is the complete letter:

As discussed during our recent meeting, the NFL has a unique responsibility and opportunity to drive change and advance progress in the prevention and treatment of head injuries. That is our unwavering commitment to our players, former players, athletes at all levels, and society more broadly.

At the core of that commitment is your continued and robust support of independent medical research, including the $30 million contribution to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for scientific research on concussion and head injury. I want to reaffirm in the strongest possible terms my comments to you during the league meeting and my public statements this week reaffirming the NFL’s commitment to the NIH of the $30 million in grant funding we pledged to accelerate scientific understanding of concussion and head injury. There was no consideration given to anything other than honoring that commitment in its entirety.

The research you have funded thus far is significant. It includes $12 million that has been allocated through the NIH for two $6 million agreements dedicated to studies that define the long-term changes that occur in the brain after a head injury or multiple concussions. Boston University School of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs received $6 million for a study on CTE and post-traumatic neurodegeneration, while Mount Sinai Hospital received $6 million for a study on the neuropathology of CTE and Delayed Effects of TBI. Additionally, the NFL grant has funded six pilot projects totaling more than $2 million to provide support for the early stages of sports-related concussion projects .

Apart from our firm commitment of $30 million to the NIH for scientific research, we will move forward on the work discussed with you earlier this week, including substantial additional funding for projects relating to safety equipment, treatment of athletes who have experienced concussions, and a longitudinal study relating to the incidence and prevalence of long-term health consequences. We are fortunate to be guided on these projects by the finest medical and scientific advisors and appreciate their dedication to our ongoing efforts.

We look forward to a productive and ongoing partnership with the NIH and others to advance our shared priorities, and to committing additional funding to medical research and engineering advances to enhance the safety of athletes at all levels.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

According to Bleacher Report’s Ja

Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft

According to Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, three NFL owners have expressed “extreme disappointment” in Robert Kraft and the Patriots after they filed an amicus brief on behalf of Tom Brady and the NFLPA in the quarterback’s appeal of the Second Circuit pertaining to his four-game Deflategate suspension.

Cole says the owners view the move by the Patriots and Kraft as a publicity stunt to get more fans back on their side. He adds the owners don’t believe Kraft was serious with the filing as it goes against commissioner Roger Goodell’s ability to punish players and undermines the league’s CBA.

One owner told Cole if Kraft thought it mattered he and the team wouldn’t have made the filing.

The Patriots filed the amicus brief on Wednesday supporting Brady and the NFLPA.

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Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

New Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett and Tom Brady appeared to be on the same page Thursday.</p>
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Ted Olsen, who is serving as the lead counsel for Tom Brady in the quarterback’s fight against the reinstatement of the his suspension, joined Ordway, Merloni and Fauria Thursday to discuss his client’s recent appeal.

Brady and his team are now awaiting word on whether the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will grant a re-hearing.

FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the biggest takeaways from the first week of OTAs, which concluded Thursday with a two-hour workout that was open to the media. Some of the highlights included Tom Brady working closely with and throwing a touchdown pass to new tight end Martellus Bennett and the debut of rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Brissett was intercepted once by top draft pick Cyrus Jones while throwing a touchdown pass to fellow rookie Malcolm Mitchell on a fade pattern. Petraglia and Price also discuss the latest developments in Tom Brady’s appeal, the Patriots joining the fight and what it means going forward.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Ted Olsen, who is serving as the lead counsel for Tom Brady in the quarterback’s fight against the reinstatement of the his suspension, joined Ordway, Merloni and Fauria Thursday to discuss his client’s recent appeal.

Brady and his team are now awaiting word on whether the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will grant a re-hearing.

“We think we have very, very strong reasons here,” Olson said. “We acknowledge that courts of appeals don’t usually grant re-hearings and the Supreme Court doesn’t usually grant anything more than a small percentage of the cases that it takes, but those statistics are misleading because it depends upon the case.

“Here’s a situation where a huge injustice is manifestly done and the commissioner, who commissioned this report which you’ve discussed many, many times, calling it neutral is just a complete misnomer. It wasn’t a neutral investigation. Then the commissioner reviewed his own investigation and imposed discipline. Then when the appeal came along, he appointed himself to do an appeal and then he decided on different grounds to sustain the discipline that he had previously imposed based upon obviously pre-determined judgement, and he failed even to mention the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement that related to equipment, which is obviously what was involved in this case.

“We think this is important to collective bargaining agreement[s] and to employers and employees everywhere.”

On the subject of the power wielded by commissioner Roger Goodell, Olson said that the NFLPA granting him that power in the collective bargaining agreement is a “legitimate concern.”

“In fact, the majority on the panel — the two judges that decided against Tom — basically decided that,” Olson said. “They said, ‘Look. It’s an arbitration and you’ve granted a lot of discretion to the commissioner and that’s all it’s going to be. We pointed out, however, that when the commissioner decided to hear the appeal himself, he was responsible to act in a fair and neutral fashion and provide an unbiased review of things, and he was supposed to look at the record, look at the decision that he made, and consider that and not come up with a new analysis that wasn’t part of the decision in the first place.

“So he came up with something completely new. We make the point that that’s inconsistent with collective bargaining principles decided by the Supreme Court and other circuits and that when there’s a specific provision in the collective bargaining agreement — as there is here — about equipment that is directly pertinent to the case, the commissioner had to at least mention that and explain why in the world that was not pertinent, why he departed from that equipment violation provision completely, which would have required a fine — a relatively modest fine, even if the evidence was against Tom, which of course it isn’t — but he ignored that principle, too. He ignored a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that was directly pertinent, and he had a responsibility to discuss it.”

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Tom Brady were on the field in Foxboro Thursday.  (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady were on the field in Foxboro Thursday. (Elsa/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Patriots just put the wraps on an OTA session on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. The workout ran for just under two hours, and was held in numbered jerseys, helmets and shorts. (Shout out to a handful of players, including running back Brandon Bolden and wide receiver Aaron Dobson who were in long sleeves, a bold move on such a hot day.)

The following players were not present for the workout: wide receiver Julian Edelman, cornerback Malcolm Butler, cornerback Logan Ryan, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive back Duron Harmon, running back Dion Lewis, defensive back Nate Ebner, long snapper Joe Cardona, offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson, offensive lineman Josh Kline, offensive lineman Shaq Mason, defensive lineman Frank Kearse, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, offensive lineman Nate Solder, wide receiver Danny Amendola, tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive lineman Alan Branch.

One of the biggest things that stood out was the fact that most all of New England’s veteran offensive playmakers: Gronkowski, Edelman, Amendola, Lewis and Blount were all not present. In addition, a sizable chunk of what will likely be the starting offensive line was not on the field. At the running back spot, that allowed several of the guys who are presumably at the back end of the depth chart get some work. D.J. Foster did nicely when it came to keeping up with the veterans in a pass catching drill for the backs. Along the offensive line, the lack of starters also allowed some of the youngsters and new faces to get plenty of reps alongside Brady. As Dante Scarnecchia indicated a few weeks ago, rookie offensive lineman Joe Thuney was inside.

When it came to reps at the quarterback spot, it didn’t appear that the Patriots were looking to get more work for backup Jimmy Garoppolo at the expense of Brady. Wide receiver Chris Hogan with a nice catch in the corner of the end zone via Brady on a passing drill. Rookie Devin Lucien also hauled in a fade pass from Brady later in the same drill. (Hogan had a couple of other really nice grabs, including a one-hander from Brady later in the day.) Keshawn Martin had a few nice grabs in traffic.

Meanwhile, Jacoby Brissett had a couple of overthrows, but had a nice connection with Malcolm Mitchell later in practice down the sideline, and looked like he was throwing the ball with more authority as the session continued. Cyrus Jones had the pick of the day when he stepped in front of a Brissett pass for Lucien near the end of practice and brought it out of the end zone.

In these sorts of workouts in the past — particularly the spring sessions — Brady has gravitated toward a handful of guys who had most favored nation status with the quarterback. In previous years, that group has included (but not been limited to) Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Edelman and Gronkowski. With most of his buddies not present on Thursday, it appeared he spent most of his time with Garoppolo and new tight end Martellus Bennett. Bennett also spent time chatting with Garoppolo.

Later in the workout, off to the side, Brady was paired off with Bennett, new tight end/fullback Clay Harbor and fullback James Develin. (Toward the end of practice, Brady went off to work with another grouping that included Bennett, Mitchell, Nate Washington and Aaron Dobson.) While that was going on. Brissett was throwing to a group of skill position players at the other end of the field that included Hogan, Martin, Dobson and Washington. Bennett looked good for much of the day — he had a really nice catch in a red-zone drill later in the day where he wrestled the ball away from Pat Chung. But it wasn’t all good news for the newcomer, who dropped a pass in 11-on-11 drills and was forced to run a lap. Geneo Grissom and Darryl Roberts also had to run laps as well.

Martin, Jones, Chris Harper, V’Angelo Bentley were all spotted returning punts at the end of practice. It’s not known if it was physical ailment or just a way to stay warm, but during the special teams portion, Jamie Collins spent time riding a stationary bike. (He didn’t spend a lot of time on the bike, for what it’s worth.)

The Patriots dipped into the music just after the midway point of the workout with a little Guns N’ Roses (“Welcome to the Jungle”), James Brown (“Living in America”) Bon Jovi (“Living on a Prayer”) and U2 (“Beautiful Day”) among others.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
The Patriots filed an amicus brief supporting the NFLPA against the NFL with Deflategate. (Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots filed an amicus brief supporting the NFLPA against the NFL pertaining to Deflategate. (Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports)

On Wednesday, the Patriots filed an amicus brief supporting the NFLPA in their case against the NFL pertaining to Deflategate in the Second Circuit. The purpose of the brief is to encourage the Second Circuit to rehear the case.

Here are a few takeaways from the brief:

1. The brief, written by Patriots attorney Daniel Goldberg who is behind the Wells Report in Context, noted the impact the ruling has on the team. “Under the existing 2-1 decision, the Patriots stand to lose their All-Pro quarterback for 25% of the upcoming regular season based on a severely flawed process,” Goldberg wrote. “But the impact of the majority opinion is not limited to professional football. It threatens to undermine vital principles governing arbitration of collective bargaining agreements throughout the national economy.”

2. It also attacked commissioner Roger Goodell saying he treated Brady’s appeal “not as an appeal but as a continuation of the investigation.” Goldberg wrote: “The Commissioner made new findings and shifted the basis for his discipline of Mr. Brady in a decision from which Mr. Brady then had no appeal rights.” It also noted Paul Weiss didn’t allow Brady to see the notes of its interviews with NFL officials who observed the halftime testing of footballs in the 2014 AFC title game.

3. Goldberg went on to attack the Wells Report. “In short, the Commissioner relied on the Wells Report,” he wrote. “The Wells Report relied on Exponent’s ‘conclusion’ that science did not explain the PSI of the Patriots footballs. Exponent based that conclusion on assumptions from Paul Weiss. Those assumptions could only be tested by having access to the interview notes sought in discovery. The Commissioner refused to allow that discovery.”

4. The brief further attacked Goodell noting he was wrong about Brady and John Jastremski only speaking about preparing footballs for the Super Bowl in the days after the AFC title game. Brady did testify the two spoke of the PSI story because of the media attention it was getting. It also went against Goodell and the claim that destroying of Brady’s cell phone was an admission of guilt. The brief said Brady provided them with all the calls and texts they needed.

5. Lastly, it concludes with: “The panel majority’s opinion ignored or excused these fatal failings,” Goldberg wrote. “It endorsed the outcome of a highly manipulated and fundamentally unfair process designed and used by the Commissioner to reach and justify a predetermined outcome in violation of the CBA and this Court’s precedents. It renders meaningless the vital protections afforded by a bargained-for right to appeal and to obtain and present pertinent evidence. Its impacts will be felt far beyond the NFL. This Court should grant a rehearing and restore the fundamental fairness of arbitration appeals guaranteed by the CBA and this Court’s cases.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable