Pats president: NFL unfairly treating 'exceptional human being' Tom Brady

The Deflategate drama is over insomuch as Tom Brady fought the law and the law won. There will be no more appeals, no more legal wrangling; instead, the Patriots quarterback will miss the first four games of the season as punishment for whatever role he may have had in underinflated footballs making their way onto the field during a blowout win over the Colts back in the January 2015 AFC title game.

So while Brady and the Pats have accepted their fates, it doesn't mean they're happy about it. By just about any measure, they were treated unfairly by the league office, a point Pats president Jonathan Kraft continues to make.

"I think I want to start by saying Tom Brady is exceptional," Kraft last week during an appearance with CBS Boston's Marc Bertrand. "We've talked about it a lot, but he's an exceptional human being. From our perspective, he's the type of professional athlete that you want to celebrate, hold up as an example, not only to other players in the league but hold up to kids that are playing the game, and just as somebody you want to model your life off of, not only as a professional athlete but how he is as a father to his children, a husband, a son to his parents, a brother to his sisters. He is as good of a human being as you can get. And I think as I've told you before, if Tom was a lot younger and let's say he wasn't a football player but was the exact same guy and he married my daughter, I'd think my daughter had married the greatest guy in the world. He's exceptional.

Translation: The hard feelings remain.

"So for us, seeing him treated him in a way that we don't perceive to be fair eats at us greatly. And there's still a tremendous amount of, there's frustration around how the pure facts of science and lack of any type of tangible, hard evidence that certain people can look at those circumstances and then try to taint him or his legacy without that type of evidence. And that will always be a frustration that spurs anger here. Not having him play on the field, there will be an emptiness and you really feel for Tom, because you know how badly he wants to be out there."

Kraft will likely find little sympathy outside of New England, but there is a silver lining to Brady's month off and Kraft touched on it in his "frustration spurs anger" remarks. Brady might be an exceptional human being, but the man can also hold a grudge. And he'll no doubt use the four-game suspension to plot his revenge on the rest of the league by way of playing out of his mind when he returns against the Browns in Week 5.

In the meantime, unproven Jimmy Garoppolo is the starter in New England. He was uneven in the preseason opener (11 of 18, 168 yards) but that shouldn't be cause for alarm; working out the kinks is the entire point of these practice games. Worst case, Brady returns and the Pats are 2-2, or maybe even 1-3, but thanks to playing in the AFC East, there's still every reason to believe New England will win the division and return to the postseason for the eighth consecutive year.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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