Pi­card: Be­ware NFL, Brady is out for re­venge.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE -

I just feel bad for the Cleveland Browns.

They’ll host the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots in Week 5, Sun­day Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. on CBS. It will also be Tom Brady’s first game of the sea­son, thanks to the four-game De­flate­gate sus­pen­sion that he ac­cepted last week.

The Browns will feel Brady’s wrath, for sure, as he be­gins his own per­sonal warpath through the NFL. All for the ul­ti­mate goal: to make sure Roger Good­ell is hand­ing him the Lom­bardi Tro­phy in Hous­ton on Feb. 5.

Look, it’s way too early for NFL sea­son pre­dic­tions, never mind play­off and Su­per Bowl pre­dic­tions. But will there ever be any­one more mo­ti­vated than Brady will be this sea­son, be­gin­ning Week 5 in Cleveland?

The Pa­tri­ots al­ready use bulletin-board ma­te­rial bet­ter than any­one else in the his­tory of sports. The fact that one of the great­est quar­ter­backs of all-time has to sit out four games be­cause of the air pres­sure in a foot­ball is in­fu­ri­at­ing. And I’m not even on the team. So, you can only imag­ine how Brady is feel­ing.

Let’s make some­thing clear: One emo­tion he is not feel­ing is guilt. The idea that his ac­cep­tance of the fourgame De­flate­gate sus­pen­sion is an “ad­mis­sion of guilt” is down­right laugh­able. Had Brady been ad­mit­ting any type of guilt, he would have rolled over af­ter the ini­tial sus­pen­sion was handed out. But he didn’t, and last time I checked, he ac­tu­ally won his ap­peal, and Judge Richard Ber­man va­cated his sus­pen­sion. Then, when the NFL won its ap­peal and had his sus­pen­sion re­in­stated, Brady was de­nied a re­quest for a re­hear­ing.

So there’s re­ally only one le­gal op­tion left, and that’s to try and take the case to the Supreme Court. Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­ports, Brady has au­tho­rized the NFLPA to try and do just that. Ex­cept, Brady him­self won’t be in­volved. But by no means is that an ad­mis­sion of guilt.

Do you re­ally think that if Brady’s All-Star team of lawyers told him he had a chance to win and get the sus­pen­sion va­cated again once and for all, he would just fold up shop and say, “Nah, that’s OK guys. This isn’t a bat­tle worth fight­ing any­more.” I mean, if you be­lieve that, you just haven’t been pay­ing at­ten­tion.

It’s clear that Brady’s peo­ple have told him this thing was all but done, and that the NFL — as un­fair as it is — is go­ing to win the fight to pro­tect the com­mis­sioner’s rights in the CBA. And un­for­tu­nately, Ar­ti­cle 46 is a real thing. The abil­ity to be the judge, jury and ex­e­cu­tioner is a power that Good­ell ac­tu­ally has. And as pa­thetic as it may be, he’s uti­lized those pow­ers to the best of his abil­ity in this sit­u­a­tion, one that re­volves around the air pres­sure in foot­balls.

Brady’s only real op­tion was to move on to the 2016 sea­son. By do­ing so, he hands the car keys to Jimmy Garop­polo for the first four weeks of the reg­u­lar sea­son. The sched­ule? Week 1 in Ari­zona, Week 2 at home against Mi­ami, Week 3 at home against Hous­ton, and Week 4 at home against Buf­falo. That’s right, only one road game for the Pa­tri­ots’ backup quar­ter­back.

The only thing that we know for sure is that Brady will be play­ing Week 5 in Cleveland. He won’t be per­form­ing with a guilty con­science. He won’t be need­ing air-pres­sure ad­just­ments with the foot­balls. He’ll just be out there sling­ing, as a quar­ter­back who’s been dragged through the mud for some­thing so stupid, not even Greg Hardy can com­pre­hend how he and Brady served the same num­ber of games.

Brady isn’t guilty. He’s on a mis­sion. And that mis­sion be­gins in Week 5.

I’m just not sure what the Browns did to de­serve that.

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