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Sunday NFL Thoughts: Updates for DeflateGate, Patriots training camp rules, and players to watch

Is there anything on the horizon for QB Tom Brady and his suspension?

1. Everyone is still in limbo with regards to the status of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. He is currently still suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, but his appeal is currently outstanding and awaiting a response from the court.

We are expecting a response from the court any day now- whether requesting information from the NFL, or outright rejecting Brady’s appeal- and there are a few minor updates from friend of the site and sports lawyer Daniel Wallach.

1a. First, if Brady’s appeal is heard by the court, there won’t be a decision until next year or beyond. There are only 8 days of oral arguments scheduled for the next two months, which means that any hearing will likely take place after the 2016 season and the decision will be even later. If the court hears the appeal, Brady should play the entire 2016 season.

1b. The court is already using the precedence set by the DeflateGate ruling, which grants sweeping authority to arbitrators under Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA), by arguing “the CBA means what the arbitrator said it means”. Perhaps this will spur the court to rectify the ruling.

1c. The court has a backlog of rehearing petitions to sift through and they’ve only decided on 4 of the 32 that have been filed since April. On a different note, the Second Circuit is starting to respond to the amicus briefs filed, which isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing- it just means that something is moving.

2. This is a fun read about how Brady helped the Celtics try to land free agent superstar Kevin Durant. While it ultimately didn’t pan out, this is a great look at what happened behind the scenes.

“First Tom and Kevin greeted each other. They had met each other before. Tom’s a big fan of KD’s. Then we sat down fairly quickly and got down to business. Tom talked a little bit about the Celtics and Boston and what it’s like as a city and how they embrace sports.”

3. We are now two weeks away from July 24th, which is when the rookies have to report to training camp for the Patriots. New England is asking their rookies to report earlier than all but two teams: the Ravens (22nd) and Lions (23rd). The Patriots veterans report on July 27th. What are the rules for training camp?

The first day is limited to physical exams, meetings, and classrooms. No on-field activities other than conditioning. Contact and pads are not allowed during the first three days.

After the first three days, teams are permitted to have two-a-day practices, following these rules:

a. No more than four hours on the field per day.

b. No more than one padded practice per day- and pads can only be worn for a max of three hours.

c. There has to be a three hour break after the practice.

d. The second practice is limited to a walkthrough.

There are exceptions for quarterbacks and the defensive signal callers that allow them to wear helmets to relay calls from the sideline, if needed. Any violation of these rules will result in a cancelled practice.

4. These are the rookies I’ll be watching:

CB Cyrus Jones: Does he take over as the #3 cornerback?

OG Joe Thuney: Is he the starting left guard, or will veterans return and bump him down the depth chart?

DT Vincent Valentine: I’ve touted his athletic ability, but can he put it together on the field?

WR Malcolm Mitchell: He picked up the Patriots playbook earlier in the summer, but how will he function in live action?

CB Jonathan Jones: Jones made plays throughout camp and there’s hope that he can make the roster as a ballhawk.

RB D.J. Foster: He was one of the more impressive backs during camp, but can he show his ability as a runner?

5. These are the veterans I’ll be watching:

Offensive interior line: Where does everyone stand on the depth chart?

WR Chris Hogan and TE Martellus Bennett: These are two of the most important additions this offseason. Can they take the offense to new heights?

RB Dion Lewis: How does his knee look after recovering from a torn ACL?

QB Jimmy Garoppolo: He could very well start the first four games of the season; will he take the majority of first team snaps?

?? Rob Ninkovich and Shea McClellin: These two swapped projected positions during camp, but was that just to expand their versatility?