Now that Tom Brady has decided to drop his appeal, accept his four-game suspension and therefore not be allowed to practice with his teammates during the first month of the season, it's time to look at what that might mean both for the three-time Super Bowl MVP and the Patriots.
There has been a level of consternation surrounding the fact that Brady will not be allowed at the facility, work out with his teammates or have any contact with the organization whatsoever. But that doesn't mean Brady will be rusty when he returns to action for New England's Week 5 game in Cleveland.
Back in 2010, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger faced a similar situation. Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student following a night of drinking in a Milledgeville, Georgia, bar. Although he wasn't charged by Georgia authorities, he was suspended for six games before eventually having his punishment reduced to four games.
Like Brady, Roethlisberger was banned from having any contact with Steelers coaches, teammates or other personnel and wasn't allowed at the team's facility during the suspension. Yet, when Big Ben made his return there was little if any rust visible.
In another similarity, Roethlisberger made his return in Week 5 against Cleveland, just as Brady will in October. He proceeded to complete 16 of 27 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns (plus one pick) while compiling an impressive 112.7 passer rating in Pittsburgh's 28-10 win. He followed that effort with an even better one the following week in Miami when he completed 19 of 27 for 302 yards and two touchdowns and a 132.0 passer rating in a 23-22 victory.
Pittsburgh won nine of Roethlisberger's 12 starts and eventually made it to the Super Bowl, where the Steelers lost to Green Bay, 31-25. In his 12 games, Roethlisberger completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,200 yards with 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions for a passer rating of 97.0
So, the early-season inactivity did little to slow down Roethlisberger, and it's unlikely that it derail a quarterback as prepared as Brady either.
*Roethlisberger in 2010 *
-First two weeks coming off suspension*