LOOK: Tom Brady appears to thumb nose at NFL with silent preseason protest

Tom Brady wasn't able to get his four-game suspension overturned, but it looks like he did manage get one last shot in at the NFL before the suspension officially begins on Saturday.

During the two preseason games that Brady played in over the past two weeks, he didn't wear the NFL-mandated decal on the back of his helmet that shows the league shield. The apparent silent protest was first noticed by a user on Twitter who pointed it out to 98.5 the Hub, a CBS Sports Radio station, in Boston.

Each NFL player is required to wear two decals on the back of their helmet: an American flag and a league shield.

As you can see below, Patriots offensive lineman Jon Halapio had both stickers on his helmet against the Giants on Thursday.

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NFL players are required to wear two decals. USATSI

Rookie wide receiver Devin Lucien, like all players on the field, was also wearing both decals during the game.

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Patriots rookie Devin Lucien was wearing the NFL shield decal. USATSI

This is where Brady's protest comes in.

As you can see below, the quarterback definitely wasn't wearing the NFL's decal for the Patriots third preseason game against the Panthers.

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Tom Brady decided not to wear an NFL decal against the Panthers. USATSI

Brady also decided to eschew the decal for the Patriots game against the Giants.

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Tom Brady wants nothing to do with the league shield. NFL Game Pass screen grab

The irony here is that there's a chance that this could actually lead to more punishment for Brady. An NFL spokesman recently told Pro Football Talk that a player could be punished if they removed the American flag decal from their helmet. If the same rule applies to the NFL's shield decal, then Brady could be in trouble.

The flag decal became a topic of conversation because PFT wanted to know if Colin Kaepernick was allowed to remove it as part of his protest.

As for Brady, we won't know for sure that he did this on purpose until October at the earliest. The quarterback's suspension starts at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, and after that, he's under no obligation to speak to the media until he returns on Oct. 3.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, Brady was wearing the decal last season. Here's a picture of Brady wearing the NFL shield on his helmet during the AFC title game against Denver.

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Tom Brady didn't always hate his NFL decal. USATSI
CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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