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Five takeaways from Tom Brady’s suspension over DeflateGate

Five quick takes on the NFL’s decision to suspend New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games, fine the team $1 million and take away the 2016 first-round draft pick and a 2017 pick:

Speak up, Tom. Honestly. So far, Brady has had little of substance to say about what he knew about the underinflation of footballs in the AFC championship game. Instead, he has smiled and demurred while his father fired away last week, saying his son was a victim of “Framegate.” And Don Yee, Brady’s agent and lawyer, spun the results of the investigation on the “Dan Patrick Show.” “After three and a half months of an investigation and millions of dollars spent and dozens upon dozens of people interviewed … the investigators still concluded in their report that it was just more probable than not,” Yee told Patrick. “[That] means in lawyer-language, that’s 50.1 percent versus 49.9 percent, essentially a coin flip.”

It’s hard to imagine that either would speak without Brady’s approval and now we’ll see just how personally he takes the suspension. He will appeal, Yee said, and no one will be surprised if he fights it vigorously — until kickoff on Sept. 10, if need be. He won’t be able to hide behind his father and Yee now, but this process is just beginning.

This one isn’t on Belichick. The damage from DeflateGate was collateral for the one person who matters to the team than Brady. The quarterback is suspended and the Patriots were fined, but the immediate impact on Coach Bill Belichick is the loss of Brady and the loss of the 2016 first-round draft pick and another in 2017. The damage to his reputation takes a hit, but Belichick was never going to win a personality contest. But unlike Spygate, this one falls on Brady.

Is it Oct. 18 yet? Right now, the sexiest game on the NFL calendar is a Sunday night game on Oct. 18. That’s when the Patriots travel to Indianapolis for a rematch with the Colts, the team that pointed out to the NFL just before the AFC championship game that there was some funny business going on with the Patriots’ footballs.

Gauging the blowback. Brady and the Patriots aren’t the only ones taking a hit in this mess. The NFL may have gotten the punishment right in this case, but it’s never a good day when comparisons are made to the way in which it suspended Ray Rice only two games for knocking out his then-fiancee in a casino elevator. And the heavily circumstantial findings of the Wells report had better stand up to scrutiny when Brady’s appeal is heard.

Garoppolo. Jimmy Garoppolo. Right now, get ready for Jimmy Garoppolo in the NFL season opener in prime time on Sept. 10. It might not be as bad as everyone thinks.

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