Tom Brady filed an appeal just days after the league suspended him for four games over Deflategate—but the Patriots have given up and won't be fighting the league's punishment, CBS News reports. In a five-minute press conference today out of San Francisco, where the league is holding spring meetings, owner Robert Kraft said even though he found the discipline—a $1 million fine and two lost draft picks, including one in the first round—"unreasonable and unprecedented," he "reluctantly" conceded that dropping the appeal would be best for all involved, NESN reports. "The entire process is taking way too long," he said. "I can end [this controversy] or extend it." This followed an ESPN report that Kraft and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell were having "back-channel conversations" to avoid legal action.
Although MMQB compared the Goodell-Kraft relationship to that of Obama-Putin, there have been signs the chill was thawing: ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted this morning that the two were spotted hugging it out. But a league source reportedly told Schefter that the NFL asked the Patriots to suspend Jim McNally and John Jastremski (the two employees whose texts allegedly pointed to deflating) before the Pats received their punishment, and that the team "obliged," as ESPN puts it—which wouldn't make a lot of sense if there's no proof of ball deflation, as the Pats keep insisting. An NFL rep denies ESPN's report. Meanwhile, MMQB asked Kraft in an "alternately defiant and angry" phone call over the weekend why he suspended the two, and Kraft "refused comment—for what he claimed were a variety of reasons," the site notes. (A Time writer says Brady shouldn't have been suspended at all.)