After the NFL Players Association's attempt to reach a settlement with the NFL on Tom Brady's Deflategate punishment originally was met with "silence," the league has since responded and the two sides are engaged in talks, sources have confirmed to ESPN.
Fox Sports first reported news of the talks, which have been taking place in recent days and could lead to a reduction of the four-game suspension levied on the New England Patriots quarterback. Sources, however, have told ESPN that it is unlikely that the sides will reach a settlement.
It is increasingly apparent that Brady's camp is focused on exonerating him from any charges of cheating and on the issue of his noncompliance with Ted Wells' investigation into Deflategate, sources told ESPN.com's Dan Graziano. Sources said Brady might be willing to admit to a failure to comply with the investigation in exchange for a fine, but no suspension.
Any delay in the announcement is rooted not in whether NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made up his mind, but in the belief that Brady will challenge the issue in court, and that the NFL's decision must be designed, vetted and written to withstand that challenge, sources told Graziano.
The NFL reportedly is looking at more than 400 pages of documentation as it prepares its decision.
The process surrounding Deflategate has been in motion since the Jan. 18 AFC Championship Game, which the Patriots won. After an investigation, a releasing of Wells' findings, a rebuttal from the Patriots and punishment levied by the league, Brady appealed his four-game suspension on June 23.
Now with Pats set to open training camp this week and Brady already at the team's complex, the ball remains in the NFL's hands as to whether or not the four-time Super Bowl winning QB will take the field when New England opens its title defense against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Sept. 10.
Information from ESPN.com's Dan Graziano contributed to this report.
Sources: NFL, NFLPA engaged in Tom Brady settlement talks
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