Tom Brady Out For Four Games, New England Patriots Lose Two Picks
The NFL handed down its punishment for Deflategate, and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were hit hard.
In a story initially reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, Brady has been suspended four games, and the Patriots will lose two draft picks -- 2016 first rounder and 2017 fourth rounder -- in addition to a $1 million fine. Brady will be allowed to participate in all offseason activities, including preseason games.
"We reached these decisions," commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement, "after extensive discussion with Troy Vincent and many others. We relied on the critical importance of protecting the integrity of the game & thoroughness and independence of the Wells report."
Goodell said Brady was suspended for "conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL."
You can read the full statement here, as well as a letter from Vincent, the NFL executive vice president of football operations, to the Patriots organization.
Brady and the Patriots will likely appeal. If the suspension holds, Brady will miss games against Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Jacksonville and Buffalo.
Since the Patriots, the reigning Super Bowl champs, have a Week 4 bye, Brady's first game will be -- ironically enough -- Week 6 at Indianapolis.
Jimmy Garoppolo is New England's backup quarterback. Garoppolo was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft. In four preseason games a year ago, he was 46-of-79 (58.2 percent) for 618 yards with five touchdowns and one interception (99.0 passer rating).
It's a stiffer penalty than most expected, especially when juxtaposed to the two-game ban Ray Rice initially received for his domestic violence incident.
We'll have more as it unfolds.