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Tom Brady issues statement, is grateful to be playing

A day after his four-game NFL suspension was nullified by a judge, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady issued a statement on his Facebook page, thanking his supporters while expressing regret over how the suspension controversy has been a distraction for the sport.

"While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this," Brady wrote. "I don't think it has been good for our sport -- to a large degree, we have all lost. I am also sorry to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt as I have tried to work to resolve this situation. I love the NFL."

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman voided the suspension levied against Brady on May 11 when Ted Wells, an independent investigator hired by the NFL, asserted Brady's connection to deflated footballs used in the AFC Championship Game this past season. Goodell upheld that four-game suspension upon review.

The decision came after multiple attempts at settlement between Brady, his council, the NFL Players Association and the NFL. On Monday, Berman dismissed both sides after just a few minutes after realizing they were too far apart to reach a settlement. The league officially appealed Berman's decision Thursday afternoon.

Read Brady's full statement below:

The regular season starts tomorrow morning and I can't wait to fully commit my energy and emotion to focus on the challenges of the 2015 NFL season. I want to thank my family, my friends, all of the fans, past and current players and my teammates for the support they have given me throughout this challenging experience. I also want to thank Judge Berman and his staff for their efforts to resolve this matter over the past five weeks. I am very grateful. My thanks also to the union's legal team who has fought so hard right along with me. While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this. I don't think it has been good for our sport -- to a large degree, we have all lost. I am also sorry to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt as I have tried to work to resolve this situation. I love the NFL. It is a privilege to be a member of the NFL community and I will always try to do my best in representing my team and the league in a way that would make all members of this community proud. I look forward to the competition on the playing field and I hope the attention of NFL fans can return to where it belongs -- on the many great players and coaches who work so hard every week, and sacrifice so much, to make this game great. Most importantly, I look forward to representing the New England Patriots on Thursday night in our season opener. I hope to make all of our fans proud this year ... and beyond!

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