NEW YORK (AP) — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returns to practice and lawyers for the NFL and its players union face a federal judge Wednesday after settlement talks failed to reach a deal in football's deflation scandal.
Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with their lawyers faced off for about four hours in New York City on Wednesday in an 11th-hour effort to strike a deal, two sources familiar with the legal case told The Associated Press.
The failure to reach agreement in the scandal that's become known as "Deflategate" means it is more likely that U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman will be left to decide whether the NFL acted properly when it suspended Brady for four games to start this season. A ruling was unlikely Wednesday.
The people, who spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said the talks occurred away from the Manhattan court handling the case. The location was not disclosed.
Lawyers already have submitted written arguments supporting their positions.
The NFL said in court papers that Goodell followed its collective bargaining agreement with players when he launched his investigation of improperly inflated footballs at New England's 45-7 January victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game. The Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl and won.
The league said there was "ample support" in evidence for the commissioner to conclude Brady was involved in efforts by the Patriots equipment personnel to deflate footballs.
The union said in its court filing that Brady was unfairly suspended because the NFL displayed "a clearly biased agenda — not an effort at fairness and consistency." It criticized Goodell's ruling upholding the suspension as a "smear campaign," a "propaganda piece written for public consumption."
Berman ordered Brady and Goodell to appear at a hearing last week, but he has said they are not required to attend Wednesday's arguments.
Brady planned Wednesday to be at Patriots practice in West Virginia, where New England is preparing with New Orleans Saints players for a exhibition game Saturday night.
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