NFL: Tom Brady says he's sorry NFL had to 'endure' Deflategate scandal

Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL) exits federal court on Aug 31, 2015.
Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL) exits federal court on Aug 31, 2015.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Star quarterback Tom Brady made his first public comments on Friday since a federal judge threw out his "Deflategate" suspension, saying he was eager to start the National Football League's (NFL) 2015 season.

"While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this. I don't think it has been good for our sport - to a large degree, we have all lost," Brady said in a post on Facebook.

Brady thanked US District Judge Richard Berman for his Thursday decision to toss his suspension and the court's "efforts to resolve this matter over the past five weeks".

"I am also sorry to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt as I have tried to work to resolve this situation. I love the NFL," Brady said.

Brady, 38, had been banned for four games until an Oct 18 clash with the Indianapolis Colts, which would have cost him nearly US$2 million (S$ 2.85 million) in salary.

Brady was suspended over the footballs used in the Patriots' 45-7 post-season victory against the Colts that sent them to the Super Bowl, where they defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.

Within hours of the Friday ruling, the NFL appealed the order vacating Brady's four-game suspension. The appeal is expected to take months.

Berman's decision in New York was a major setback for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who had suspended Brady for his alleged role in a scheme to deflate the balls.

For seven months, the controversy has dominated sports radio, made national headlines and inspired nicknames like "Deflategate" and "Ballghazi."

The league has already fined the Patriots a record US$1 million and stripped the team of two draft picks.

Brady is entering his 16th season with the Patriots and has played in six Super Bowls, winning four.