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Robert Kraft releases statement on Tom Brady ruling

Kraft highlighted Brady's integrity throughout the process and looked forward to the focus shifting from the legal battle to the 2015 NFL season, set to kick off between the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers next week.

"As I have said during this process and throughout his Patriots career, Tom Brady is a classy person of the highest integrity," Kraft said in the statement. "He represents everything that is great about this game and this league. Yet, with absolutely no evidence of any actions of wrongdoing by Tom in the Wells report, the lawyers at the league still insisted on imposing and defending unwarranted and unprecedented discipline. Judge Richard Berman understood this and we are greatly appreciative of his thoughtful decision that was delivered today. Now, we can return our focus to the game on the field."

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL has appealed the decision.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the NFL doesn't plan to seek a stay to keep Brady off the field during the appeal process.

For the Patriots, Thursday's news allows them to move forward with their future Hall of Fame quarterback under center Week 1 as they defend their Super Bowl title.

The legal quandary, however, will press on in the background.

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