NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady's four-game suspension on Tuesday. What's next for the embattled Patriots quarterback?
Consider it a surprise if Brady backs down now. The NFL Players Association announced it will appeal the decision, and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports the appeal is slated to be filed Wednesday in Minnesota.
The first step would be to seek an injunction that would allow Brady to remain on the field while the legal case plays out. If the injunction is received, Brady's team can then either attempt to fast track the federal court case or operate in a more deliberate manner that would allow Brady to play through the season without the case being decided.
The danger of the latter path is considerable: If Brady gets the injunction, then loses the fight in federal court during the 2015 season, there is the possibility his suspension could occur later -- perhaps even during the playoffs if the Patriots were to advance.
According to Rapoport, this crucial bit of timing in the proceedings will be the focus of Brady's legal team as they consider the next move.
There is no guarantee Brady will get the injunction, according to Gabe Feldman, director of sports law at Tulane University. Feldman said Brady's team will have to successfully argue that the quarterback would be "irreparably harmed by not being allowed to play" in order to secure the injunction.
"(Brady has) a lot of obstacles to get back on the field and the key one is trying to get a quick release, and the quick release would have to come through an injunction," Feldman told NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano. "It's very difficult for anyone to get a court to grant an injunction -- very high standards -- and it's particularly high in this case where you'd be asking a judge to interfere with the Commissioner's internal decision."
Feldman contends that it's "more probable than not" that Brady will not be playing when the Patriots open defense of their Super Bowl title against the Steelers on Sept. 10.