NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesdayhe wants to hear any new information that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has that might convince Goodell to reduce Brady's four-game suspension.
"I look forward to hearing directly from Tom,'' Goodell said at the conclusion of the league's annual May owners meeting. "If there's new information that would be helpful to us getting this right, I want to hear directly from Tom.''
Brady is appealing the suspension (beginning with Game 1 of the 2015 regular season) handed down after a 243-page report by attorney Ted Wells concluded that it was "more than probable'' that the Patriots purposely deflated footballs for the first half of last season's AFC Championship Game against the Colts. The report said Brady was "generally aware'' of the situation and that he refused to provide text messages and/or emails sent to the two Patriots' equipment staffers, Jim McNally and John Jastremski.
Goodell defended his right to be the appeal officer, despite criticism from the NFL Players Association, which is representing Brady in the appeal. The union formally requested that Goodell recuse himself from hearing the appeal, but Goodell said he had not fully studied the request, which was made on Tuesday.
"When we get back [on Thursday], we will focus on that and give it due consideration,'' Goodell said of the NFLPA request. Goodell also said he did not know of a date that had been set for the appeal, although it is likely to be held within the next week.
As for his role in hearing the Brady appeal Goodell said that "this process has been established, it goes back to commissioner Pete Rozelle and several labor agreements. There's a process in place we want to follow.''
Goodell acknowledged that the decision to suspend Brady was a difficult one. "Any player or coach that we are involved with suspending, that decision comes with a great deal of thought, consideration and recognizing that that's a difficult decision,'' he said "I have great admiration and respect for Tom Brady, but the rules have to be enforced on a uniform basis, and they apply to everybody in the league. They apply to every club, every individual coach, every individual player and that is something that we put the game ahead of everything.''
Goodell insisted that Patriots owner Robert Kraft's decision not to challenge the NFL's sanctions against the club -- a $1-million fine and loss of two draft choices -- had nothing to do with any decision he might make on Brady's appeal. "The decision that Robert made was his decision,'' Goodell said.
Goodell also said the NFL did not ask the Patriots to suspend McNally and Jastremski, refuting a report earlier this week that the league had made such a request.
Goodell added that owners did not discuss the protocol for footballs on game day, although he does expect new guidelines for the 2015 season.
Notes & quotes: Significant progress has been made with potentially relocating one or two teams to the Los Angeles market, and a vote among the owners could take place before the end of the year, according to NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman. The Rams, Raiders and Chargers are among the teams looking into a possible move to Los Angeles . . . Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans and Tampa are finalists to host Super Bowl 53 (in 2019). Los Angeles could host a Super Bowl in 2020 if a team relocates to that market by 2016 . . . Goodell hailed the adoption of new rules for point-after tries. PAT kicks will now be spotted at the 15, while two-point conversions remain at the 2 . . . Goodell said there has been some discussion among owners about having regular-season games in Germany and Mexico, as well as staging the Pro Bowl in Rio de Janeiro. No future international games other than in London appear imminent though.