WASHINGTON — Deflategate is truly, finally going to take the final steps of its pathetic existence when Tom Brady begins the four-game suspension imposed by Commissioner Roger Goodell at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Because the last thing anyone wants to see is Deflategate being dragged out by a mistake, NFL rules command that Brady SIMPLY MUST NOT:
■ Attend or watch practice.
■ Show up at the Patriots’ facility.
■ Have any contact with any team personnel.
■ Exchange game plans, playbooks, plays or videos on any electronic device.
■ Engage in football-related activities or discussions with teammates, even away from the facility. This would include workouts, running drills and the line.
■ Go to the stadium as a spectator or travel to road games.
■ Attend news conferences (which is the real tragedy because all Patriots personnel love those).
Here’s something Brady CAN do:
■ Return to the Patriots’ roster after their Oct. 2 game against the Buffalo Bills.
In the meantime, he isn’t divulging just what he’ll do with his time off. Asked in a news conference Tuesday if he would stay in Boston, he said only ‘‘We’ll see.’’ Asked how he would stay sharp, he said: ‘‘We’ll see.’’ (“We’ll see’’ is the new ‘‘on to Cincinnati.”)
Brady will be able to work with his buddy/body coach, Alex Guerrero, the NFL says.
‘‘Well, that’s nice of them,’’ Brady said with a straight face. ‘‘We’ve been working together for over 12 years now. So, he’s one of my best friends. We’ll do what we always do. We’ll use all these days in the best way that’s possible to stay prepared and stay sharp. I have ideas of what I need to do based on the practices that we’ve had and the limited playing time that I’ve had. My goal is to come back and be the best I can be, just like every other year, every other offseason. I’m gonna do the best I can do over these next however many days, 30 days or so to do the same thing.
‘‘I think we’ve still got a good day of practice. I’ve looked at all these days of practices of ways to get better with access to the fields and throwing to my receivers. Trying to use those days the best I possibly can, just like I always would. I’ve got another, hopefully, opportunity to play Thursday night [in the final preseason game] and be with the team Friday. And then try to do the best I can over the next month.’’