NFLPA on Brady case: 'Doesn't seem like it's going to end soon'

NFLPA on Brady case: 'Doesn't seem like it's going to end soon'

Tom Brady and the NFLPA haven't officially decided on how they will proceed now that Brady's four-game suspension has been reinstated, but it sounds like their fight with the NFL isn't over. 

NFLPA spokesman George Atallah joined the Dan Patrick Show on NBC Sports Network to discuss Brady's options going forward and the timeline for a resolution. 

"It's unfortunate," Atallah said, "that we're still talking about this issue . . . It just seems like it won't end. And [I] hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn't seem like it's going to end anytime soon either here if Tom decides he wants to continue to pursue any further options.

"You don't like to be on this end of a decision, but the union doesn't look at outcomes. We look at process. If we believe that a player's rights have been violated, it's our obligation to fight. We've done that over the course of many, many, many years now, regardless of what a judge may say."

Brady's suspension was reinstated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals when two of the three judges to hear the case voted in favor of commissioner Roger Goodell and the league. Brady could petition for the case to be reheard "en banc," meaning that the entire Second Circuit would hear the case. The Second Circuit rarely hears cases "en banc," but given the high-profile nature of the case and the fact that Chief Justice Robert Katzmann was the dissenting opinion in the most recent ruling could give Brady's camp hope. 

Atallah said that Brady and the union have 14 days from the time of the decision to make up their minds on how to proceed. At this point, it's somewhat unclear as to whether or not Brady wants to go "all the way," Atallah said. 

"I don't really know," he explained. "We certainly had that feeling months ago when we were heading into Roger's second arbitration decision to uphold his first decision. We took it to court, and we won on the first round. And here we are again set up with kind of a similar dilemma.

"I think the process now, we want to try to figure out and weigh all the options. I think we'll do that in the next couple days. We have 14 days from the time of the decision to take any action or pursue any further appeal if we want, and I think we'll probably take up most of that time."

Atallah said that any kind of settlement, an idea we explored in this space yesterday, seems unlikely. 

"I think the only chance that we have at this point for mediation or for a settlement, I think we would need a level-headed and influential team owner to step in and broker some kind of deal," he said. "We've always felt that way, that if it was between the commissioner making up his mind to come up with some sort of reasonable solution to this, we wouldn't get there. And it's been proved that we haven't got there.

"Unfortunately the one owner who comes to mind (as someone who could broker a settlement) at this point, and he had such sway in 2011, also happened to be on the receiving end of these penalties (i.e., the Patriots' Robert Kraft). Unless somebody else from that ownership group, from that management council, steps up and shows some necessary leadership here, again, I don't really see how that's going to happen."

Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

File photo

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."