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Brady, the Cardinals and the opener

When Tom Brady's four-game suspension -- the one that would ostensibly keep him from playing the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sept. 11 -- it was hard to figure that Deflategate was actually over. And it's not.

Brady waited until the last possible moment, but he and the NFL Players Association have exercised their right to ask the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to hear his case en banc. That means Brady is appealing for the entire group of Second Circuit judges (13 judges) to hear the case as a whole, rather than the three-judge panel that ruled against him, 2-1.

Without getting too deep in the legal muck, how this impacts the Cardinals is fairly simple. While there is no timetable in which the judges must answer Brady's request for a rehearing, if it is granted, the suspension is automatically put on hold. So if there is a decision between now and Sept. 11 to grant the rehearing -- and it would likely take months for a rehearing to then take place -- Brady is going to play against the Cardinals. If he is denied the rehearing, Brady won't play that day.

It's important to note that the Second Circuit chooses to hear en banc less than one percent of the cases it is asked to hear in that format. The odds are against Brady. There is still an appeal-to-the-Supreme-Court option for Brady down the road if he so chooses, but that too would be a long shot.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) points at the line of scrimmage prior to the snap of the football in a week 2 NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Foxborough, Massachusetts on September 16, 2012. The Cardinals defeated the Patriots 20-18. (AP Photo/Scott Boehm)