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."