Around the NFL

Brady willing to talk admittance to lack of cooperation

With Tom Brady back at Patriots practice on Wednesday, his lawyers remain lodged in New York for settlement talks regarding his four-game suspension.

Judge Richard M. Berman carried the proceedings forward Wednesday by hearing oral arguments, and then lawyers on both sides talked behind closed doors.

Berman has informed the two parties that if no settlement is reached, then Brady and Commissioner Roger Goodell need to be in court Aug. 31 for more talks.

But could the two sides be close to coming to some sort of an agreement?

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer report, per sources involved in the proceedings, that Brady is willing to negotiate some form of admittance to a lack of cooperation and punishment in the form of a fine or loss of game checks. Brady is not, however, willing to accept the findings of the Wells Report, or sit out games.

"We had over two hours of oral argument today and the judge hammered the NFL," Director of the Tulane Law Sports Program and NFL Media legal analyst Gabe Feldman said on NFL Network. "Whether that hammering has any outcome, has any effect on the outcome of the case remains to be seen, the judge made clear he hasn't made up his mind yet, but there is no question he asked the NFL more difficult questions, perhaps because the Players Association has raised a lot of challenges to the NFL's decision, but the themes were the same today.

"... The judge asked some very, very difficult questions. He seemed to focus on a couple of areas including: Why didn't the NFL allow (NFL Executive Vice President) Jeff Pash to testify during the hearing if Jeff Pash, who is a high-ranking NFL executive, was listed as a co-author of the Wells Report? He said, maybe the Players Association should have had access, should have been able to ask him questions.

"(Berman) also had a little trouble with the Commissioner comparing ball deflation to performance-enhancing drug use, so a lot of questions raised, still no questions answered, and we will press on, but this was the big opportunity for both sides to present their legal cases to the judge."

Brady was in New York on Tuesday for settlement talks, but he was told that he didn't need to attend Wednesday's proceedings, leaving him free to join his Patriots teammates in West Virginia for their joint practice with the Saints. Goodell was also not required to attend the settlement conference.

Breer was told by a source that no material terms were offered during Tuesday's settlement conversations, with the parties still stuck on the facts of the case.

Brady missed practice last week in an attempt to smooth over his conflict with the NFL about his four-game suspension for the use of deflated footballs in January's AFC Championship Game. Brady and Goodell met last Wednesday in New York for an initial settlement conference that included one period open to the public followed by a session during which the sides remained behind doors while attempting to find common ground.

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