New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said Friday he has decided to drop the legal challenge to his four-game "Deflategate" suspension.
"It has been a challenging 18 months and I have made the difficult decision to no longer proceed with the legal process," Brady said in a post on his Facebook page. "I'm going to work hard to be the best player I can be for the New England Patriots and I look forwad to having the opportunity to return to the field this fall."
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The Patriots quarterback said he is "very grateful" for the support he has received from team owner Robert Kraft and the Kraft family, Coach Bill Belichick, his teammates, the NFL Players Association, his agents, his family and the team's fans.
Robert Kraft issued a statement Friday saying he is "frustrated" that Brady was denied his right to a fair and impartial process. He said the NFL's investigation was "unprecedented, unjust and unreasonable," and said what Brady had to endure was "as far removed from due process as you could ever expect in this country."
The NFLPA also issued a statement, saying that after "careful consideration and discussion" with Brady, it will not be seeking a stay of the suspension.
"This decision was made in the interest of certainty and planning for Tom prior to the New England Patriots season," the statement said. "We will continue to review all of our options and we reserve our rights to petition for cert to the Supreme Court."
Brady's latest appeal was rejected Wednesday by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He would have had to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to take his case, and only about 1 percent of the appeals submitted to the nation's highest court are accepted.
In April, a three-judge panel said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was within his powers when he suspended Brady four games for his role in a scheme to doctor the footballs used in a Jan. 18, 2015, playoff game.
The decision Wednesday affirmed the wide-ranging powers given to the commissioner by the NFL's collective bargaining agreement and was a setback for organized labor groups arguing for due process in employee discipline.
Brady was originally suspended before last season when the Patriots were found to have used underinflated footballs in the previous AFC title game. A judge overturned the suspension Sept. 3 and Brady played the entire 2015 season, but on April 25 a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit ruled 2-1 to reinstate the suspension.
The Patriots open the season Sept. 11 at Arizona.
Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to take Brady's place for the first four games.