It remains to be seen whether the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals will grant a rehearing of Tom Brady's suspension case, but an out-of-court settlement between the NFL and the New England Patriots quarterback remains unlikely.
Speaking at the Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic golf tournament in Buffalo, New York, on Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league isn't holding settlement talks with Brady.
"As I said, we've had all those discussions," Goodell told reporters. "We've had settlement discussions over the past year. At this stage, no, right now we're moving forward. The courts will make their decisions and we'll move forward on that basis."
Goodell went on to reiterate the league's stance under the collective bargaining agreement regarding the commissioner's role in player discipline when it comes to matters involving the game's integrity.
"When it comes to the integrity of the game, that's the responsibility of the commissioner, and we're not gonna hand that integrity of the game off to somebody that doesn't have any involvement in the game," Goodell said. "That's for somebody that understands what is important in making sure we maintain that. Maintain the competitiveness of our game. And the reality is, our rules apply to everybody. They apply to every player, every team, and that's something we're going to work hard to maintain and not hand that off to somebody else."
Last month, lawyers for Brady and the NFL Players Association petitioned for a panel rehearing or a rehearing en banc. In an en banc hearing, all 13 judges on the court would rehear the case. In April, a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 against Brady, reinstating his four-game suspension for his connection to deflated footballs used in last year's AFC Championship Game.
Goodell also said again that he was open to the possibility of "a better system" when it comes to decisions on player discipline.
"...The CBA is very clear," Goodell said. "The court of appeals made that clear. That's exactly what was negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement. That's the authority the commissioner has been granted. ... So it's a reality of the world we live in right now. It's unfortunate. If we can find a better system, we said that since we structured our collective bargaining agreement. If there's a better system, let's do it."