The NFL rejected the appeal of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with regards to his role in the DeflateGate controversy, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter. Brady is still scheduled to miss the first four games of the 2015 NFL season, though he is expected to fight the ruling in federal court.
The league originally suspended Brady in May after a nearly-five month investigation into the use of under-inflated footballs during the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. Attorney Ted Wells, who was also the investigator into the Miami Dolphins' BullyGate scandal in 2013, found it "more probable than not" that two Patriots assistants intentionally deflated the footballs in order to try to gain an competitive advantage by providing Brady with more grip on the football. The report also indicated that Brady was "at least generally aware" of the situation.
Along with the four-game suspension for Brady, the league fined New England $1 million and stripped them of their 2016 first-round Draft choice and their 2017 fourth-round selection. The Patriots accepted those punishments in an effort to move on from the scandal. Brady, however, has maintained his innocence throughout the process and reports earlier this week indicated he and the NFL Players Association were preparing to take the case to court.
Brady will miss the team's NFL Kickoff Thursday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with the team's Week 2 contest at the Buffalo Bills, Week 3 home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Week 5 contest at the Dallas Cowboys. New England has a Week 4 bye this year.
Second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the Patriots' second-round draft pick in 2014, will start for New England if Brady misses any time. The NFLPA and Brady will likely ask for an immediate injunction when they file their lawsuit, looking for the courts to prevent him from missing any playing time before his case is heard.