IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys began training camp, they heard the news that Tom Brady had been suspended for their Week 5 tilt against the Patriots on Oct. 11.
With the preseason winding to a close, Brady is back on the schedule.
In the latest twist of the long and winding "Deflategate" saga, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman overruled the NFL's four-game suspension of Brady on Thursday. Brady had been suspended for his role in the controversy about deflated footballs being used in last January's AFC Championship Game. Additionally, the Patriots were fined $1 million and stripped of two draft picks.
That's big news for Brady, but it's also fairly significant for the Cowboys. Dallas is the Week 5 opponent on the Patriots' schedule, and, since New England has a Week 4 bye this season, Brady was slated to miss the Oct. 11 showdown while he served the final game of his suspension.
Instead, the afternoon kickoff will be billed as just the third meeting between Brady and Tony Romo – and Brady's first game at AT&T Stadium since it opened in 2009. The Patriots have outdueled the Cowboys in both of Romo's matchups against them, winning 48-27 at the old Texas Stadium in 2007 and 20-16 at Gillette Stadium in 2011.
Week 5 will also be pivotal for the Cowboys, who will welcome back Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain from four-game suspensions just in time to play New England. Both players are currently still with the Cowboys, but they'll have to cease activities with the team starting Sept. 5.
They'll be eligible to return Oct. 5, giving them a week to prepare for the Patriots.