Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NFL Notes: Judge Will Rule Soon after Unproductive Talks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NFL Notes: Judge Will Rule Soon after Unproductive Talks

Article excerpt

Judge says he'll rule soon after unproductive talks

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady attended last-minute settlement talks between the NFL and its players union Monday before a judge announced he would decide the dispute over deflated footballs with a ruling in a day or two.

Everyone involved "tried quite hard" to reach a deal in the controversy that has hung over professional football since New England easily won the AFC title game in January, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said in federal court in Manhattan.

However, Berman said: "We did not reach a settlement. ... In some cases, it doesn't happen and this is one of those cases."

Absent a compromise, Berman will have to either affirm or throw out Goodell's decision in July to uphold a four-game suspension of Brady. The NFL concluded the quarterback colluded with two Patriots ball handlers to deflate footballs to gain an edge in a 45-7 victory over the Colts. The NFL Players Association has accused the league of handling the discipline unfairly for Brady, who has denied any role in the scandal nicknamed "Deflategate."

Speaking at a hearing that lasted less than five minutes, Berman noted that senior executives from the league and the players union who had not attended several previous settlement talks joined more than an hour of negotiations Monday morning.

Giants president and co-owner John Mara took part, as did free agent kicker Jay Feely, Berman said. Feely is a member of the union's executive committee and Mara is chairman of the NFL's executive committee that oversees labor matters.

"For us it reinforces the desire and the need for an independent arbitrator in these matters of personal conduct," Feely said outside court. "But we understand Tom's position and I think the process will work itself out."

Griffin replaced by Cousins * The Washington Redskins have made a quarterback change: Kirk Cousins will be the starter this season, not Robert Griffin III.

"We feel like at this time, Kirk Cousins gives us the best chance to win," coach Jay Gruden said, unseating Griffin, the 2012 offensive rookie of the year. …

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