With the Deflategate scandal hanging over their heads throughout the season, the New England Patriots team led by Jimmy Graham responded with back to back wins. That is, until they had their first loss in the hands of Super Bowl 50 champs Denver Broncos, who were then even missing veteran Peyton Manning from their roster. This season, the New England Patriots are aiming to return as a stronger and better football team, but can they do it without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski?
The latest episode in the Deflategate drama is the victory of the NFL commissioner. In the released document on Tom Brady's appeal, the court decided to side with Roger Goodell and uphold the suspension of the quarterback. Given the highly competitive nature of the league as well as the role of Brady in the team, the New England Patriots are now scrambling to ensure that the next NFL season will not be a bust for them.
"We are pleased the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled today that the Commissioner properly exercised his authority under the collective bargaining agreement to act in cases involving the integrity of the game," announced the NFL via an official statement. "That authority has been recognized by many courts and has been expressly incorporated into every collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and (the NFL Players Association) for the past 40 years."
Meanwhile, the NFL Player's Association are planning to appeal the decision. Since the Deflategate issue started, the group has been solidly behind Brady and the New England Patriots. They also stood firm in their stance against the overwhelming power of Goodell over cases in the league.
"We fought Roger Goodell's suspension of Tom Brady because we know he did not serve as a fair arbitrator and that players' rights were violated under our collective bargaining agreement," shared the NFLPA. They added, "Our Union will carefully review the decision, consider all of our options and continue to fight for players' rights and for the integrity of the game."
With Brady potentially missing out a part of the regular NFL season, the New England Patriots must rely heavily on the remaining players on their roster. However, it looks like another key star might no longer be with the former Super Bowl champs soon. Gronkowski, who is fondly called Gronk, reportedly finds the "pay cut" recently to be a cause of concern. That is, the tight end seems to be looking at the recent changes in his salary package and not liking what he sees.
"If ya think about it that Option picks up basically equals pay cut the next 4 seasons," wrote Gronk on his social media account. He added, "I don't work hard for those reasons. Haha."
While the social media comment of Gronk has been regarded as part of his quirky humor, other fans are worried that it might be a grumbling of a disgruntled player. If the latter is the case, then the New England Patriots are in danger of losing one of the most dangerous tight ends in the league. Given the situation with Brady, the NFL team could no longer afford to lose more key players, especially next season.
Amid the speculations, however, it looks like Gronk eventually swooped in to explain his comments. The tight end shared his enthusiasm to get back on the football field for the next season. He added that the contract and pay are not his priorities at the moment. He shared, "No, that's not on my mind at all, I started offseason workouts yesterday. It just feels great to be back with the team working out, getting back in football shape and getting prepared for the season."