NEW YORK (AP) Tom Brady learned he will start the season on the field after a judge lifted the league's four-game suspension of the star quarterback for a scandal over deflated footballs, saying he was treated unfairly by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The league quickly appealed.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman criticized Goodell for dispensing ''his own brand of industrial justice'' as he found multiple reasons to reject the suspension one week before New England's Sept. 10 opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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The Super Bowl MVP has insisted he played no role in a conspiracy to deflate footballs below the allowable limit at last season's AFC championship game, a 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts.
The judge cited ''several significant legal deficiencies'' in the league's handling of the controversy, including no advance notice of potential penalties, a refusal to produce a key witness and the apparent first-ever discipline of a player based on a finding of ''general awareness'' of someone else's wrongdoing.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - It was Tebow Time again. At least for one more night.
Tim Tebow threw two touchdown passes and an interception in his final opportunity to make Philadelphia's roster, and the Eagles fell to the New York Jets 24-18 on Thursday night.
Tebow, competing with Matt Barkley for the No. 3 quarterback job, flashed some of the playmaking skills and maddening inconsistency that have made him such a polarizing player throughout his NFL career. Tebow, who last played in a regular-season game with the Jets in 2012, finished 11 of 17 for 189 yards and added 32 yards rushing on four carries.
Chip Kelly must decide whether it's Barkley, who was 4 of 9 for 45 yards and an interception, or Tebow behind Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez for the Eagles.
DENVER (AP) - Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward said the NFL is unfairly punishing him over a nightclub incident that happened more than 15 months ago, one in which criminal charges were ultimately dropped.
Ward was suspended Thursday for Denver's opener against Baltimore on Sept. 13.
Ward said in a statement released by the team that he'd accept his penalty and apologized for his actions. But he struck a defiant tone after the Broncos' preseason finale against Arizona.
Ward was initially charged with misdemeanor assault and disturbing the peace for allegedly throwing a glass mug at a female bartender at a Denver strip club in May 2014.
According to court documents, Ward was seen on video surveillance picking up the mug from the bar and throwing it after being told he couldn't bring a drink into the club. The incident came shortly after Ward signed a four-year, $22.5 million deal in Denver.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Jim Harbaugh was first to greet Jake Rudock on the Michigan sideline after he threw the pick-6 that pretty much ended any hope the Wolverines had of winning the much-hyped debut of their much-hyped coach.
The coach put an arm around his player, told him that the Utah defensive back made a great play and gave the forlorn quarterback a pat on the helmet.
Michigan fans will need to have the same type of patience with their team. Harbaugh has restored hope to the proud program, but as the 24-17 loss to the Utes showed, a return to glory is going to take some time.
In many ways Harbaugh's Michigan Wolverines looked a lot like the ones coached last season by Brady Hoke, who was fired after going 5-7. Too many turnovers by the quarterback (Rudock threw three picks). Little production from the running game (76 yards on 29 carries). A defense that played OK, but got little support.
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) - ESPN says commentator Curt Schilling won't appear on the air for the next month in the wake of his anti-Muslim tweet.
ESPN said Schilling won't be on telecasts for the rest of the regular season or the American League wild-card game on Oct. 6.
The former star pitcher and ''Sunday Night Baseball'' analyst was pulled by ESPN from a major league game and the network's coverage of the Little League World Series last month after he retweeted a post that compared Muslims and Nazi-era Germans.
At the time, Schilling said he'd made a ''bad decision.''
DENVER (AP) - San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum had surgery on his left hip and will need five months of rehab to be ready for the 2016 season.
The operation on the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner was performed in Vail, Colo., by Dr. Marc Philippon. Before the Giants began a series with the Colorado Rockies, Giants trainer Dave Groeschner said Philippon ''was pretty confident he'll get back to major league pitching for next season.''
Groeschner said Philippon repaired Lincecum's torn left hip labrum during the arthroscopic procedure and addressed a hip impingement or bone build-up that had occurred over time and was the biggest source of discomfort for the pitcher.
Lincecum will begin range of motion exercises Friday, Groeschner said, and remain in Vail before traveling to Scottsdale, Arizona, early next week and begin working there with the Giants' physical therapist.
NEW YORK (AP) - A few days of indecision over, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is back on schedule for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic and a chance for a magical career-ending race.
After a tough loss in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course last Saturday, American Pharoah's owner Ahmed Zayat said his ''gut feeling'' was to retire rather than race on as planned.
On Thursday, following hours of talks with trainer Bob Baffert and the rest of Team Pharoah this week, the owner decided against retirement because ''the champ deserves another chance.''
Zayat says after conferring with Baffert, assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, jockey Victor Espinoza and his son and racing manager, Justin Zayat, that American Pharoah came out of the Travers ''in great shape.'' His initial read was perhaps the chiseled bay colt was tiring from the grind of shipping more than 20,000 miles by air and horse van and running in seven tough races since March.