The Deflategate saga has defined the New England Patriots' offseason and the dialogue surrounding the fourth Super Bowl quarterback Tom Brady delivered for the franchise.
Brady remained mum while his appeal of a four-game suspension played out and was ruled in his favor, but at last, he broke his silence on the matter in speaking with reporters on Sunday.
It marked the first time Brady addressed the media since just after the Super Bowl XLIX triumph over Seattle, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe pointed out. Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com captured the essence of the message Brady delivered and the numerous reporters eager to hear what he had to say:
Although he declined to share his personal feelings, Brady did say he felt "terrible" for former Patriots employees John Jastremski and Jim McNally, who were prominently featured in the Ted Wells independent investigation, per NESN's Doug Kyed.
"My part is to get ready to play football and that's what I'm prepared to do," said Brady, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. Brady added, "For the last 20 years, I've been playing football this time of year and it feels good to be able to do it again."
CSNNE.com's Michael Giardi observed Brady's countenance as he articulated his thoughts about a controversial issue seven months in the making:
Deflategate isn't quite over yet, despite the landmark decision and Brady's lengthy Facebook post from Friday expressing gratitude for those who helped him through the situation. The NFL is conducting its own appeal, but it won't prevent Brady from taking snaps while that plays out.
"That's their choice and that's a part of the process," said Brady Sunday regarding the league's appeal, per Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal.
At least for the time being, the focus can return to football—and not just the air pressure in the balls. New England is featured in the regular-season kickoff on Thursday evening against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
As recently as last week, it wasn't clear whether Brady or his presumptive eventual successor Jimmy Garoppolo would be under center for that contest. As prolonged as Deflategate has been as a storyline, the payoff from the past several days will see Brady suit up for Week 1 and beyond.
Brady and the Patriots have to be glad to move forward and that the hurdle of the QB speaking to the media is out of the way. Coach Bill Belichick's team tends to avoid strong comments to the media. Brady handled himself well considering the distraction Deflategate has caused in an otherwise frequently airtight locker room.