New York — Tom Brady might have reason to practice more intensely after a judge said Wednesday the Patriots quarterback’s four-game suspension for underinflated footballs is in jeopardy.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman warned an NFL attorney during oral arguments there was precedent to toss out penalties issued by arbitrators in the scandal known as “Deflategate.”
Berman cited several weaknesses in the way the NFL handled the controversy that could result in a victory by Brady and the NFL Players Association.
The NFLPA claims NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was not an impartial arbitrator and his decision was inherently flawed and should be vacated, thus lifting Brady’s suspension.
The suspension was upheld by Goodell last month after he concluded Brady conspired with two Patriots equipment employees to deflate footballs before New England easily beat the Indianapolis Colts in January’s AFC championship game.
If there is no negotiated deal, Berman said he hopes to rule by Sept. 4.
Stanfel finalist for Hall
Quarterback Ken Stabler and Lions guard DickStanfel were selected as senior finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2016.
They both died this year.
Stabler was the NFL’s MVP in 1974 with the Raiders.
Stanfel was selected in the second round in 1951 by Detroit. In seven seasons, the final three with Washington, he was one of the NFL’s best blockers, making the 1950s All-Decade Team. He made four Pro Bowls.
Voting for next year’s class will be held on Feb. 6 in San Francisco.
Top pay report denied
A perplexed and slightly miffed Eli Manning shot down a report he wants to be the league’s top-paid quarterback, insisting that was not the goal in talks.
The two-time Super Bowl MVP is in the final year of a contract that will pay him a $17 million base salary. His agent, Tom Condon, has been negotiating a new deal, but the two sides are not close to an agreement, New York Giants co-owner John Mara said Monday.
Manning insisted neither he nor Condon told the Giants to make him the highest-paid quarterback
Aaron Rodgers of the Packers is the leader, earning a $22 million salary entering this season.
The Jets signed veteran quarterback Matt Flynn, adding depth to the position with Geno Smith sidelined 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw.
Flynn took a physical with the Jets last Friday, but didn’t work out for the team. The 30-year-old Flynn, who was dealing with a hamstring issue, was released by New England last week.
... Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin suffered a season-ending torn ACL in his left knee.
... Bills running back LeSean McCoy’s injured left hamstring will be healed in time for Buffalo’s opener against Indianapolis on Sept. 13.
McCoy was hurt a day earlier during a joint practice with the Cleveland Browns.
... Defensive end Kenny Anunike, who starred in Denver’s preseason opener, will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday amid concerns he’s suffered another serious injury.
... Falcons running backs Devonta Freeman and rookie Tevin Coleman (hamstring) may not play Friday against the Jets.
... Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz didn’t practice Wednesday and won’t play in Saturday’s exhibition against the Jaguars with a strained calf.
News wire services contributed.