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Brady's suspension ends; 'Deflategate' appeal dropped

"Deflategate" is finally over and Tom Brady can return to the New England Patriots.As of Monday, Brady's four-game suspension is officially over.

>> Read more trending stories  

Brady has not been allowed to have any contact with the team since the end of the pre-season. Sunday, TB12 was spotted working out at the Dexter School in Brookline.


Also Sunday, the quarterback told the NFL Players Association to drop his Deflategate appeal.

In a tweet, the NFL Players Association writes:

After consultation with Tom Brady and our appellate counsel, we have decided to not purse additional appeals in this matter.

This means Brady and the NFLPA will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.


On the field, the Patriots weren't able to remain perfect during Sunday's game vs. the Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo took advantage of sloppy, Tom Brady-less New England to hand the Patriots their first home shutout at Gillette Stadium, winning 16-0 Sunday.

Why are NFL ratings down this season?

NFL ratings are down. And that's something that doesn't happen often, considering that the league has cemented itself at the top of American sports. 

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Ratings for the NFL's biggest prime-time games dropped about 12 percent from last year during the first couple weeks of the season. They were down in Week 3, too, including the lowest-rated Monday Night Football broadcast ever

If you ask some people, they'll tell you it's because of recent player protests during the national anthem, like Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. 

In a way, it makes sense that people would turn to anthem protests to explain the drop in ratings. Seeing the NFL take a ratings hit is unusual and so are the protests.

But there are other factors at play too.

For example, that lowest-ever Monday night rating should probably be taken with a grain of salt. 

The first presidential debate, which was aired the same night, was the most-watched debate ever. That's bad news for a football broadcast happening at the same time. 

Plus, political coverage as a whole has put up big numbers throughout the election cycle. It's not unthinkable that it could be cutting into the NFL's viewership a bit. 

Another possible factor in the NFL's ratings slide: A lot of the games weren't as good as usual. 

Several star quarterbacks were on the sidelines during prime-time games due to an injury or suspension. Plus, nearly half of the prime-time games through Week 3 were decided by 14 points or more. 

Still, it's early in the season, and ratings have plenty of time to bounce back. Professional football is still the most-watched sport in the U.S. by a long shot. 

DeSean Jackson wears custom cleats to spur dialogue about 'senseless killings' of 'citizens and police'

A closer look at Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson's cleats during warmups for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns show yellow caution tape in a design that criss-crosses the shoes.

In a statement, Jackson addressed the design, saying it was part of a bigger message. 

"Today is the start of my attempts to be part of a solution and start dialogue about the senseless killings of both citizens and police," he said. "I have chosen to wear these cleats in pregame today to use my platform as a pro athlete to add to this discussion. This isn't meant to be any kind of protest against the good men and women in law enforcement in this country. I just want to express my concern in a peaceful and productive way about issues that are currently impacting our country."

"I've seen enough yellow caution tape, and it's time for a stand and a change in our community and society," Jackson told TMZ.

>> Read more trending stories  

The Redskins organization said it supports Jackson's effort. 

"We stand in support of both DeSean and the law enforcement community," the team's statement said. "We have great respect for law enforcement and the sacrifices they make each and every day to protect and serve our communities. We continue to have open dialogue with our players about issues that are important to them and support their efforts to bring awareness to those issues when done in a responsible manner."

Jackson, who also told TMZ that he's using his "stage and platform" to raise "awareness to help prevent these killings," said that he is "also coming up with a master plan to start a movement."

East Carolina fans boo own marching band for national anthem protest

Following in the footsteps of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other athletes around the country, East Carolina band members kneeled during the national anthem Saturday ahead of the team’s tilt with Central Florida.

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>> Watch the video here

The band was also booed during halftime.

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>> Click here to see the clip

Reactions were varied after the stance:

Kaepernick has refused to stand for the national anthem in protest of racial inequality, prompting other athletes to follow suit.

(H/T 247sports)

Steelers' Antonio Brown to honor Arnold Palmer on his cleats

Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown will honor Arnold Palmer during Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, not with an end zone dance, but on his feet. Brown told ESPN.com that he’s planning to wear black and gold cleats with Palmer’s image on them.

>> Read more trending stories 

According to ESPN, Brown said he wants to have some “motivation” and inspiration during each game, and chose Palmer after spending time at his house before training camp.

Brown called Palmer “an inspiring guy” whom he was glad to share a moment with.

The Steelers play the Chiefs Sunday night.

Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert pays Charlotte body shop $3,900 in coins

Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert said he paid a car repair shop over $3,000 in coins after they wouldn’t accept his check.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Tolbert warned anyone in Charlotte and the surrounding area to avoid the body shop.

Queen City and surrounding areas!!!! If you need any motor work or anything done to your car I urge you DO NOT I repeat DO NOT go to this place! I was quoted a price and a 10 day completion time frame!!! 2 1/2 months later still not done and upped the price from the original quote! Terrible business and owner! I expected a level of professionalism that I did not receive and the owner expected me to pay more because I'm "a millionaire"!!!! Charlotte beware they are crooks to the fullest extent!!! A photo posted by Mike Tolbert (@yogidagreat35) on Sep 26, 2016 at 3:24pm PDT

He said he was quoted a price and a 10-day completion time frame, but after 2 1/2 months later, the repairs were still not done, and the shop upped the price form the original quote.

>> Read more trending stories  

“I expected a level of professionalism that I did not receive, and the owner expected me to pay more, because I'm ‘a millionaire,’" Tolbert said.

Tolbert spoke to the media Wednesday, saying he went to the bank and got $3,900 in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

“So what kind of respectable establishment won’t take a check? So they wouldn’t take my check. They said it wasn’t going to clear the bank, so I was like, ‘Hmm, you throwing shots. I got one for you.’ So I went to the bank and got $3,900 in coins.”

When asked what did the body shop say? “Oh they was upset. You’ve got to sit there and count, basically, four grand in coins, you’ll be mad too. They got what they asked for,” Tolbert said. 

The body shop responded with a Facebook post saying:

"From the beginning, he attempted to get us to do work for free because he is 'Mike Tolbert.' So today, I am disappointed that it came to this, I had to call the police on Mike Tolbert. He and his buddy threatened me. CMPD actually banned him from the property today. They forced him to pay his bill before leaving though."

The body shop's response has been removed. 

Cowboys WR Cole Beasley endures brutal hit, inspires time travel meme

Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley is known for his speed and toughness, but he also has a good sense of humor.Beasley took a vicious hit during Sunday night's game against the Bears. As Beasley came across the middle and made a catch, he was knocked back by Chicago safety Adrian Amos. 

>> Read more trending stories While Beasley was momentarily shaken up, he stayed in the game. The Cowboys won 31-17.A meme has popped up on Twitter showing that the hit was so hard, it sent Beasley traveling back in time. Beasley told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he and his wife were "dying laughing" after watching the clip and that it was one of the funniest videos he'd ever seen.

WATCH: Falcons, Saints join hands midfield in circle of unity before kickoff

The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints kicked off their game with a unique moment Monday night.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {</span><span>  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];</span><span>  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;</span><span>  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;</span><span>  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.7";</span><span>  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);</span><span>}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>With a message of togetherness, the Falcons and Saints lock arms and put the rivalry aside for a moment before #MNF. #Together #ATLvsNOPosted by Atlanta Falcons on Monday, September 26, 2016

After everyone stood for the national anthem, the teams left the sidelines and came together in the middle of the field where they held hands.

The two teams formed a circle around the 50-yard line for a moment of unity and reflection. Some players bowed their heads for a few moments before the teams returned to their sidelines.

>> Read more trending stories

The ESPN announcer said the players decided to do the show of unity in light of last week’s police shootings and the demonstrations that have been going on around the NFL.

“With a message of togetherness, the Falcons and Saints lock arms and put the rivalry aside for a moment before #MNF,” the Falcons posted on their Facebook page.

>> Watch the clip here

Panthers-Vikings game declared 'extraordinary event,' allowing for extra security

Sunday's NFL matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings has been declared an "extraordinary event," which gives police more manpower, officials in Charlotte, North Carolina, said Saturday.

>> Read the press release here

According to a news release, Charlotte's interim city manager, Ron Kimble, made the declaration "to enhance public safety."

"An Extraordinary Event is defined as a large-scale​ event or an event of national or international significance which might attract a significant number of people to a certain geographic area of the city," the release said, adding that the designation "allows the city to modify its permitting process for activities such as parades and specifies particular items that are prohibited from being brought into certain boundaries of the event."

The game comes just one day after the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released dashcam and body camera videos of the encounter in which an officer fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott. Scott's death Tuesday sparked protests throughout the week. 

>> Dashcam and body camera footage released in shooting of Keith Scott

Before the start of the 2016 season, the Panthers announced increased security changes.

There are now metal detectors and walk-through scanners, and surveillance has been doubled.

The team said earlier this week that they’ve been in contact with government officials and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to prepare for Sunday’s game.

>> Police provide explanation of video footage in shooting of Keith Scott

This week, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said that he's confident the department has the resources to keep the city safe.

Fans should also expect to see highly trained bomb-sniffing dogs around Bank of America stadium Sunday afternoon when the Panthers take on the Minnesota Vikings.

Panther’s fans said they aren’t overly concerned about game security.

>> Read more trending stories

“[I’m] a little nervous, but not too worried," one fan said. "I know they got a handle on things pretty well down here. There’s a lot of police and stuff uptown. You see the guys in uniform. I think it'll go pretty smoothly tomorrow."

A spokesman said the National Guard is still expected to be in Charlotte on Sunday, but could not say whether guardsmen would be on hand at Bank of America Stadium for the game.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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