-- Tom Brady announced Friday that he will not appeal his four-game Deflategate suspension to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying in a message on his Facebook page that he will "no longer proceed with the legal process."
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejected Brady's latest appeal of the suspension Wednesday, meaning that his last hope to avoid serving the suspension would be to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Although Brady indicated that he has dropped out of the appeal process, the NFL Players Association said in a statement that it still might petition the ruling to the Supreme Court.
"After careful consideration and discussion with Tom Brady, the NFLPA will not be seeking a stay of the four game suspension with the 2nd Circuit," the union's statement said. "This decision was made in the interest of certainty and planning for Tom prior to the New England Patriots season. We will continue to review all of our options and we reserve our rights to petition for cert to the Supreme Court."
A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the union is expected to petition for cert in an effort to challenge NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's power.
The ruling Wednesday was a one-sentence rejection of requests by the NFL Players Association and Brady to reconsider an April decision that found that Goodell acted within his powers by suspending the New England Patriots star quarterback for his role in a scheme to doctor footballs used in a January 2015 playoff game.
Brady will miss the Patriots' first four games this season against the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills. He will make his regular-season debut in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns.
What began as an accusation of cheating in the 2015 AFC Championship Game has grown into a multimillion-dollar legal battle over three NFL seasons involving not just an MVP quarterback but also some of the elite lawyers and scientists in the country.
As it developed, it evolved from a dispute about the air pressure in footballs into a referendum on the powers of a sport's commissioner and the right of all unionized employees to due process in a disciplinary hearing.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.