The dominant story involving the Patriots this week is, of course, Tom Brady's decision not to pursue his legal fight against the NFL any longer. Brady abandoned the challenge to his four-game NFL suspension on Friday, thus ending months of time and millions of dollars spent in the so-called "Deflategate" saga.
"I'm very grateful for the overwhelming support I've received," Brady wrote on his Facebook page Friday, "from [Patriots owner Robert] Kraft, the Kraft family, coach [Bill] Belichick, my coaches and teammates, the NFLPA, my agents, my loving family and most of all, our fans.
"It has been a challenging 18 months and I have made the difficult decision to no longer proceed with the legal process. I'm going to work hard to be the best player I can be for the New England Patriots and I look forward to having the opportunity to return to the field this fall."
Opinions about Brady's decision vary, as you might imagine. In The Boston Globe, you'll find an editorial suggesting that Brady did us all a favor by giving up his appeal.
"He cannot possibly be happy, but he has demonstrated yet again that he is a team guy," the writer asserts.
Across the city at the Boston Herald, however, a columnists claims there's no silver lining… at least not right now.
"Years from now, history is going to judge Brady as a star quarterback who was hit with a four-game suspension by an overreaching, despotic commissioner [Roger Goodell] for a violation — deflated footballs — that should have merited a fine."
Yet, another *Herald *scribe believes Brady did the right thing by abandoning his quest to have his suspension overturned.
"Had he sought a stay of the suspension from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg… pending a Supreme Court decision on whether to take the case, he was creating a potential late-season disaster for the Patriots.
"If the Court denied his request in late fall or early winter and he found himself in the cooler in December or January, where would that leave the Pats? Very likely not in Reliant Stadium on Feb. 5 when Super Bowl LI will be contested."
On CSNNE.com, one analyst compared the decision to a war film, saying Brady reached the end of the line in multiple respects.
"However you feel about the decision – and I was stunned," the writer admits, "you'd have to be a moron to think he had a chance in hell at this point of winning. The jig was up. Party was over. The fat lady had indeed sung."
Meanwhile, the focus now turns to life (temporarily) without Brady, who will still be able to work out with the club until his suspension takes effect in Week 1. ESPN blogs about what's in store for Brady's backup, Jiimmy Garoppolo. Las Vegas odds makers still believe the Patriots are the most likely team to win Super Bowl LI in Houston this season. Comcast's local site provides a full list.
The Eagle-Tribune offers a list of winners and losers in the wake of the Brady case. And a WEEI.com analyst believes 2016 could now become the most interesting Patriots season in the Brady-Belichick era as a result of Brady's decision.
"For the past five years or so," the writer explains, "each Patriots season has been pretty much the same. Win 11 or 12 games, win the AFC East and then go to battle in the postseason with a realistic shot at the Super Bowl. Not so fast for this season. There are so many unknowns as the team realistically could go 9-7 and miss the playoffs or go 13-3 and win Super Bowl 51."
Elsewhere this Monday, to end on a high note, Patriots safety Nate Ebner is now a U.S. Olympian. As you'll see in an ESPN story, he's apparently achieved his lifelong dream of representing his country as a member of the USA Rugby team which will compete in next month's Summer Olympics in Brazil.