Brady elated over lifted suspension; Steelers fans deflated |
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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady leaves Federal court, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, in New York. Last-minute settlement talks between lawyers for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady have failed, leaving a judge to decide the fate of 'Deflategate.' (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The news took most of the air out of Steelers fans Thursday afternoon.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will play against the Steelers when the teams kick off the NFL season Sept. 10 in Foxboro, Mass.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman nullified the four-game suspension handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for Brady’s connection with Deflategate. The ruling allows the defending Super Bowl champions to play their star quarterback when the teams meet next week.

Brady had been suspended for his knowledge of deflated footballs that were used in the AFC championship victory over Indianapolis in January.

Brady’s numbers against Pittsburgh show why most Steelers fans hoped he would miss the game.

Brady is 5-2 lifetime against the Steelers with 18 touchdowns and three interceptions. New England won the last meeting, 55-31, in 2013.

New England jumped from a 3-point to a 6.5-point favorite after the decision was announced.

The NFL will appeal, but Brady can play while the appeal is pending. Berman ruled that Brady had no notice he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation.

Goodell said: “We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter but respectfully disagree with today’s decision. We will appeal today’s ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game.”

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said: “This decision should prove, once and for all, that our collective bargaining agreement does not grant this commissioner the authority to be unfair, arbitrary and misleading.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib

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