Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NFL Notes: 'Deflategate' Judge Puts NFL on the Hot Seat

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NFL Notes: 'Deflategate' Judge Puts NFL on the Hot Seat

Article excerpt

'Deflategate' judge puts NFL on the hot seat

A federal judge put the NFL on the defensive over its four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Wednesday, demanding to know what evidence directly links Brady to deflating footballs and belittling the drama of the controversy.

"What is the direct evidence that implicates Mr. Brady?" Judge Richard M. Berman repeatedly asked NFL lawyer Daniel L. Nash at the first hearing in the civil case in Manhattan federal court as Brady and Commissioner Roger Goodell looked on.

Nash responded there was "considerable evidence Mr. Brady clearly knew about this," including records of text messages and phone calls between the quarterback and one of two Patriots employees implicated in the scandal known as "Deflategate."

But he also said there was no "smoking gun" showing Brady had direct knowledge that the balls were underinflated for the first half of the Patriots' 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game Jan. 18.

Brady and Goodell didn't speak during the hearing, except to introduce themselves to Berman. Brady, his head lowered, looked dour as lawyers spoke for about 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Immediately afterward, Brady smiled slightly as he signed sketches for two court artists. Berman then met individually with each side for more settlement discussions in private.

Bills claim LB who punched Jets QB * The Buffalo Bills claimed Ikemefuna Enemkpali off waivers from the New York Jets, a day after the linebacker broke quarterback Geno Smith's jaw with a punch in the team's locker room.

Bills coach Rex Ryan announced the move shortly before practice Wednesday. Without excusing what Enemkpali did, Ryan called the player "a good teammate" and said he believes the linebacker can learn from the mistake that prompted the Jets to immediately release him.

Ryan, who took over the Bills in January, is familiar with Enemkpali. Ryan was the Jets' coach last season during the player's rookie season.

"I think it's clear it was a mistake. Nothing justifies hitting somebody and all that stuff. And I'm not trying to say that it wasn't a mistake," Ryan said. …

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