FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady wasn’t on the practice field with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, a day before the settlement hearing between the NFL and the players’ union.

Both sides are due in court for the hearing Wednesday in New York with U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman. The parties are trying to determine whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s four-game suspension of Brady over deflated footballs should stand.

Berman told both sides last week that it wasn’t necessary for Brady or Goodell to attend Wednesday’s hearing, but USA Today reported Tuesday that Brady does plan to appear. Both men were in attendance at the first hearing held last week.

Brady participated fully in practice on Monday. Second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and recently signed veteran backup Ryan Lindley handled quarterback duties at Patriots practice on Tuesday.

“Brady is a key part of this team, a leader,” said Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. “There’s nothing like having Brady out there. But if he’s there or not, we’re still going to work hard either way.”

Lindley was signed Aug. 10 after the team released veteran Matt Flynn.

“He comes to work,” Lindley said of Brady. “I think the biggest thing, though, that has impressed me is his leadership. I think you see it out here on the practice field, and obviously it transfers onto the game field on Sundays.”

Butler took advantage of the no-Brady day, nearly picking off a pass during 11-on-11 walkthrough drills.

“I was going to catch it, but then again I said, ‘Ah, it’s walkthrough,’ and I moved my hands. I had to let those guys get their reps — offense, defense, wide receiver, quarterback — get their communication in.”

Butler said his near pick drew an on-field comment from coach Bill Belichick.

“He just told me we needed that in a big-time situation,” Butler said.

NOTES: Offensive lineman Bryan Stork was present at practice, but was not in uniform. … Wide receivers Julian Edelman and Aaron Dobson joined running back Travaris Cadet on the aerobic bikes at the practice field. … LeGarrette Blount, wearing No. 74 in Monday’s practice, switched back to his regular No. 29 Tuesday. … Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rutgers coach Greg Schiano was spotted at practice for the second straight day.


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