Brady legal team leans on two court decisions in rehearing petition


Brady legal team leans on two court decisions in rehearing petition

The odds of the Second Circuit granting Tom Brady a rehearing appear to be infinitesimal: Less than .03 percent of appeals in the Second Circuit were granted an en banc hearing between 2000-10.

But that hasn't kept the Patriots quarterback and his legal team from trying. 

In their petition for a rehearing, a draft for which was released on Monday, they lean on two cases in making their argument to the Second Circuit that a rehearing should be granted. There are a handful of cases that back up their claims and are mentioned, but there are two in particular that are highlighted. 

The first is Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp., a Supreme Court decision that maintained an arbitrator's authority depends on an affirmative grant of authority by both parties that have come to a collectively bargained agreement. In other words, "an arbitrator must exercise only those powers expressly delegated to him by the parties," Brady's team notes. 

In Brady's case, Stolt-Nielsen v. AnimalFeeds is relevant because, from Brady's point of view, it's not explicitly spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can issue a punishment based on facts other than those that were the focus of the initial appeal.

Because Goodell based his punishment in part on "new grounds" -- gifts given by Brady to Patriots employees and the destruction of Brady's cell phone -- the punishment could be vacated. 

There's nothing in the CBA that says Goodell can't base his punishment on new facts or new examinations of the same case. But because that power isn't explicitly spelled out in the CBA, it should not be allowed, Brady's camp argues. 

The second case that was prominently highlighted by Brady's team was a decision rendered by the Eighth Circuit: Boise Cascade Corp. v. Paper Allied Industries. It held that an arbitrator is required to, at a minimum, address relevant and critical provisions in a colletively bargained agreement.

The Boise ruling is relevant to Brady's case, his team explained, because Goodell failed to even acknowledge the argument made by Brady that ball-deflation should have been treated as an equipment violation. 

"Brady’s defense relied on the collectively-bargained penalty schedule for equipment-related violations—and the provision stating that '[f]irst offenses will result in fines,' " the petition pointed out. "Brady argued that these provisions barred Goodell from suspending him for the alleged tampering with footballs."

Not only did Goodell not treat this case as an equipment violation, he ignored Brady's argument.

Whether or not Goodell agreed with Brady's assessment that this was an equipment vioation at best is irrelevent, Brady's team points out. (Clearly Goodell disagreed; instead he compared ball-deflation to performance-enhancing drug use.) That Goodell did not even address it, however, could be grounds for Brady's punishment being vacated.

The draft of Brady's entire petition for rehearing can be found at

Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

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Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

Johnny Manziel said 10 days ago, "I'd go to New England in a heartbeat," when asked about the Patriots as a potential landing spot.

That seemed like wishful thinking at the time, but they're taking a look at him...along with 12 other NFL teams, according to ESPN's Eric Williams. 

Tom Brady's current backup Brian Hoyer is, like Manziel, an ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback. Manziel would again be competing with Hoyer for the Pats' No. 2 job should New England take a chance on "Johnny Football", the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, who's been out of football the past two years because of substance abuse and emotional problems.

FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman had it at 12 teams watching Manziel work out at the University of San Diego and said the Patriots gave Manziel a weigh-in.


Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

The Patriots have agreed to re-sign offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, his agent Scott Casterline confirmed on Twitter.  Waddle hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year began and made a visit to the Cowboys earlier this week. In the end, though, he chose to return to the team that claimed him off of waivers at the end of the 2015 season.

Waddle, who turns 27 in July, appeared in 12 games last season for the Patriots. He was the first right tackle the Patriots turned to when Marcus Cannon suffered an ankle injury mid-season against the Chargers. He ended up playing 51 snaps against the likes of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram without allowing a sack. He then started the next three games against the Broncos, Raiders and Dolphins and held star rushers Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Cameron Wake -- all of whom rush primarily off of the offensive right -- without a sack. 

Injuries forced Waddle (380 snaps on the season) to split the right tackle position with Cameron Fleming (543 snaps), but he was the primary backup when healthy. Waddle started the Divisional Round playoff game against the Titans but suffered a knee injury and was removed for Fleming. 

Both Fleming and Waddle visited the Cowboys this week, and the fact that Waddle has re-signed with the Patriots may impact Fleming's decision moving forward. 

The Patriots went to great lengths to build tackle depth last season, and adding Waddle to the roster helps them retain some of that depth after losing their left tackle, Nate Solder, to the Giants via free agency. Waddle could be an option on the left side, but the vast majority of his work since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2013 has been on the right side. 

The Patriots now have Fleming, Marcus Cannon, Cole Croston, Tony Garcia and Andrew Jelks on their depth chart at tackle. Croston, Garcia and Jelks are all headed into their second years as pros. Croston remained on the 53-man roster all season -- an indication that the Patriots liked him enough not to expose him to the waiver system -- but did not see meaningful snaps. Garcia and Jelks both missed the entirety of the 2017 season on reserve lists. 

Once the Patriots lost Solder to the Giants, it seemed to be of paramount importance that the Patriots re-sign either Waddle or Fleming. Behind Cannon, there were simply too many question marks not to have one return. The Patriots could opt to draft a tackle, but this is considered an average year at that position in that there are few ready-made NFL players and several developmental types.

Before the Super Bowl last season, I asked offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia how the team was able to manage offensively with backups at right tackle for much of the season. 

"It's not like [Fleming and Waddle are] not good players," Scarnecchia said. "They are good players. Their skill set seemed to fit that position pretty well. They have the traits that we covet. And they're both really smart guys, very willing learners, and they're both driven to be good and they want to play good. And I think all those things have manifested themselves when they've been out there playing. And we've been very, very pleased with what they've done for us this year, essentially splitting that position."

Asked about the aspects of the game the Patriots worked on with both Waddle and Fleming last year, Scarnecchia said, "For us it transcends everything. Obviously run-blocking and pass-blocking. They're both good at those things. Are they great at those things? No. But they've been able to steadily improve over the last two years to the point where we put them out there and no one's worried. And it's been that way the whole season after Marcus got hurt. Yeah they've done a nice job for us."