NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated during the league's annual owners' meetings Wednesday that there are no plans to restore the draft picks the New England Patriots lost in the Deflategate controversy and that he's unaware of any settlement talks with Tom Brady concerning the related court case.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted Goodell confirmed he had received and replied to a letter from Patriots owner Robert Kraft about the possibility of giving back the draft picks. NFL Network's Albert Breer passed along the commissioner's answer: "There'll be no changes to the discipline."
Kraft explained his stance during a meeting with reporters Monday at the meetings. He believed the draft picks, which included a 2016 first-rounder and a 2017 fourth-rounder, should be given back based on all of the current evidence, as relayed by Mike Reiss of ESPN.com:
I personally believe that when the league made their decision, they did not factor in the Ideal Gas Law. They admitted that publicly. They had a full year of being able to observe Tom Brady play with all the rules of whatever the NFL was, and make any judgments there. We have laid it out pretty straightforward. And now it's up for them to decide.
Brady was originally suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season as part of the Deflategate punishment before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman vacated that ruling last September.
Sports Illustrated's Andrew Brandt reported the sides had an appeal hearing in the case at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in early March. While there's no official timetable for a ruling, he expects a decision by the end of April and predicted a 2-1 ruling in favor of the NFL.
When asked whether there was the potential for a settlement, Goodell replied, "I'm not aware of that," per Will Brinson of CBSSports.com.
All told, it's now been more than 14 months since the AFC Championship Game between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, during which New England was accused of using underinflated footballs, and there's still no end to the situation in sight.
Though Brady was able to compete during the 2015 season while the case worked its way through the courts, the Patriots could now start feeling the punishments. They will be without a first-round pick in this year's draft, and if Brandt's prediction is correct, Brady could be out for four games, pending further appeals.
Goodell continued to hold firm Wednesday, as his stance remains the same on the punishments he originally handed out to both the Patriots and Brady.