FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Tom Brady's challenge to his four-game suspension by the NFL is set to begin.
The star quarterback of the defending Super Bowl champions is expected to appeal by the deadline of 5 p.m. Thursday. The suspension was issued Monday for his part in the deflation of footballs below the league-mandated minimum for the AFC championship game.
His agent, Don Yee, said shortly after the suspension was announced that the appeal would be filed. The New England Patriots have not said if they'll appeal their penalty - a $1 million fine and the loss of a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017.
Yee has criticized the suspension that was based on a 243-page report of an investigation headed by NFL-appointee Ted Wells. On Tuesday, Wells was critical of Yee in a conference call with reporters.
That report issued April 29 said that it was "more probable than not" that Brady "was at least generally aware" of plans by two team employees to prepare the balls to his liking. They inflated the balls below the league minimum of 12.5 pounds per square inch.
It also said Brady and the team were not fully cooperative with the investigation, which contributed to the penalties.
The NFL will go against an experienced foe in labor lawyer Jeffrey Kessler. He has won other appeals against the league and is helping Brady.
On the other side would be NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or a person he designates. That person would be chosen in consultation with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.
Brady's appeal only deals with the suspension and must be heard within 10 days.
If it is upheld, he would miss the first four games. The Patriots open the NFL season at home against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, then travel to Buffalo before a home game against Jacksonville. After a bye week, their fourth game will be in Dallas.
Brady would be eligible to return for the fifth game on Oct. 18 at Indianapolis. The probe began after the Colts complained that Brady used deflated footballs in their 45-7 loss to the Patriots in the AFC title game.
Deadline looms for Brady's appeal of 4-game suspension
FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 22: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots smiles after defeating the Carolina Panthers in a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 22, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 22: Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo talks to the media in the Patriots locker room before practice on January 22, 2015. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 28: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots passes the ball during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 12: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots warms up before the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 12, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
BOSTON - FEBRUARY 4: Patriots quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo, left, and Tom Brady, right, enjoy the Patriots Super Bowl victory parade with Brady's son, Benjamin, from atop a duck boat. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 21: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots smiles during pre-game before playing the Oakland Raiders at Gillette Stadium on September 21, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JULY 30: The Patriots camp training camp was held at the practice field next to Gillette Stadium. Jimmy Garoppolo throws a pass. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FAIRHOPE, AL - JANUARY 20: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the South team participates in drills during a Senior Bowl practice session at Fairhope Stadium on January 20, 2014 in Fairhope, Alabama. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 21: Former Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 21, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 16: Jimmy Garoppolo of the Eastern Illinois Panthers speaks during the Sports Network's 27th Annual FCS Awards Presentation at the Sheraton Society Hill on December 16, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Aug 22, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 14: New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo talks with the media about his first win as a starting quarterback at practice at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Sept. 14, 2016. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots communicates at the line of scrimmage during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 30: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms up before the game against the Buffalo Bills on October 30, 2016 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. New England defeats Buffalo 41-25. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01: New England Patriots Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) warms up on the field before the start of the NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins on January 1, 2017, at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 01: New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) answers questions from the media during the New England Patriots Press Conference on February 02, 2017, at the JW Marriott Galleria, in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: (L-R) Jimmy Garoppolo #10, Tom Brady #12 and Jacoby Brissett #7 of the New England Patriots run on the field prior to Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo of the New England Patriots during the Victory Parade through the streets of Boston on February 7, 2017, in Boston, Massachusetts to celebrate winning Super Bowl LI. (Photo by Richard Cashin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)