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Players’ union, league seek quick resolution to Brady case


NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL and the players’ union say they want a New York judge to resolve their dispute over Tom Brady’s suspension by Sept. 4.

The league and union filed a joint letter in U.S. District Court on Friday proposing a ruling by that date in Brady’s attempt to have his four-game suspension overturned. The union did not seek a court order on Friday that would allow the New England Patriots quarterback to play while a court case dragged on.

Both sides agreed not to attempt to get a preliminary ruling before the full facts are aired.

Jeffrey Kessler, the lead lawyer in Brady’s case, said in his filing with Judge Richard Berman that the parties “agreed … to a final resolution of this matter prior to the commencement of the 2015 regular season would be in everyone’s best interest.”

The NFL confirmed it took part in filing the letter in an email to The Associated Press.

New England opens at home against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10. A decision before Sept. 4 would provide Brady with ample time to prepare for the game should he win his legal case. Brady is allowed to participate in all preseason and training camp activities.

The joint request all but eliminates any chance Brady will be forced to testify at a hearing. The judge’s decision will be based solely on oral arguments by lawyers.

Berman already has told both sides to “tone down the rhetoric.”

Brady and the NFL Players Association filed their suit Wednesday in Minnesota. But the NFL already had filed papers Tuesday in New York, moments after announcing that Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspension for Brady’s involvement in the use of underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle, based in Minnesota, ordered the transfer. He noted that Brady plays in Massachusetts, the union is headquartered in Washington and the NFL in New York, Kyle added that “the arbitration proceedings took place in New York and the award was issued in New York.”

Kessler had said the lawsuit should be heard in Minnesota because it was related to a case involving Adrian Peterson’s suspension last season. Kyle countered that the union made “only a fleeting attempt” to link the Brady case to Peterson’s.

By Barry Wilner

AP Pro Football Writer