NEW YORK – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady attended last-minute settlement talks between the NFL and its players union Monday before a judge announced he would decide the dispute over deflated footballs with a ruling in a day or two.
Everyone involved "tried quite hard" to reach a deal in the controversy that has hung over professional football since New England easily won the AFC title game in January, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said in federal court in Manhattan.
However, Berman said: "We did not reach a settlement. ... In some cases it doesn't happen, and this is one of those cases."
Absent a compromise, Berman will have to either affirm or throw out Goodell's decision in July to uphold a four-game suspension of Brady. The NFL concluded the quarterback colluded with two Patriots ball handlers to deflate footballs to gain an edge in a 45-7 victory over the Colts. The NFL Players Association has accused the league of handling the discipline unfairly for Brady, who has denied any role in the scandal nicknamed "Deflategate."
Big moves for Bills
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who goes by the nickname "T-Mobile," got the call to be the Buffalo Bills' season-opening starter.
Though he's never started an NFL game in four seasons, Taylor's dynamic dual-threat potential trumped the experience of his two competitors when coach Rex Ryan made his decision on Monday.
"It came down to basically that explosiveness that Tyrod brings to us," Ryan said. "All three guys made it difficult, but at the end of the day, that's kind of what we went with."
Taylor won the job over former Bills starter and 2013 first-round draft pick EJ Manuel, and Matt Cassel, a 10-year journeyman who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Vikings.
Meanwhile, the Bills also cut veteran running back Fred Jackson after nine seasons with the club.
Jackson, who attended Coe College in Iowa, was a respected team leader whose blue-collar approach and perseverance made him a fan favorite.
General Manager Doug Whaley referred to Jackson as "the heart and soul of the Buffalo Bills."
"A decision like this doesn't come lightly," Whaley said, noting he even consulted with team owners Terry and Kim Pegula. "Everybody was on board, reluctantly, because of the magnitude of this player, and what he means not only to the Buffalo Bills but to the community of Buffalo.
Cousins gets his chance
Washington has made a quarterback change: Kirk Cousins will be the starter this season, not Robert Griffin III.
"We feel like at this time, Kirk Cousins gives us the best chance to win," coach Jay Gruden said, unseating Griffin, the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year. "It's Kirk's team."
Although Gruden said that it's Cousins' job for the season, not just the Sept. 13 opener against Miami, the quarterback is not overconfident.
"It's a step in the process," Cousins said. "It doesn't feel like a finish line by any means. Time will tell. It's going to be an interesting ride."
Bucs, Lions swing deal
Tampa Bay acquired rookie kicker Kyle Brindza from Detroit Lions for tight end Tim Wright.
Brindza converted all three of his field-goal attempts this preseason for the Lions, who signed him as an undrafted college free agent out of Notre Dame. This is the second straight summer that the Bucs have traded Wright, a third-year pro who won a Super Bowl with New England last season.