BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady has taken a lot of hard hits during his 15-year NFL career, but on Monday, it was the league delivering the hardest hit on the Patriots quarterback.

The NFL suspended Brady for four games, also fining the Patriots $1 million and docking them a pair of draft picks, for their roles in the recent Deflategate controversy.

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While Boomer Esiason of WFAN in New York and CBS’ NFL Today was surprised at the severity of Brady’s suspension, he isn’t shocked that the Patriots quarterback will have to sit out some games to begin the 2015 season.

“I was a little surprised; I figured a two-game suspension for Tom, and I didn’t realize they’d get into fines and draft picks,” Esiason told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Adam Kaufman on Tuesday. “I thought two games was warranted, and I thought that would have been a significant penalty, however, given the NFL’s statement and response to everything they’ve been through the last three months, the NFL and investigators were frustrated and very unhappy with the uncooperative nature of the internal investigation.”

Boomer said no matter how Patriot fans feel about the suspension, it’s pretty clear the Brady and two Patriots team employees were up to something the night of the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium.

“We still have to remember that something went on here, and we all know what it is. Those balls were cleared by the officials and then disappeared, which is outside the game day protocol,” said Esiason. “[Jim] McNally took them into the bathroom with him and they showed up under-inflated. That’s something that is pre-meditated, and it’s just inherently wrong.

“I don’t care who the quarterback is – Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers – I would be an advocate for their suspension as well because they’re doing something nefarious. Everybody has to look at that aspect and say, ‘Something wasn’t right here,’ and it had to be dealt with and dealt with severely.”

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So is Tom Brady a cheater?

“In this case he is,” said Esiason. “I think he was part and parcel to this, because the balls weren’t going to be made a certain way without his knowledge, especially someone who is as diligent and detailed as Brady, Manning, Brees and Rodgers. All these guys know exactly what they want and how they want it.

“I would say in this case Brady is rightly suspended. The four games are probably a little more significant than I thought, but when you look at the NFL’s explanation as to why they did this, I totally understand and get it why they wanted to be forceful in this,” he said.

“This is a black eye for [Brady], but I don’t think in any way, shape or form taints his overall legacy,” added Esiason.

Boomer adds that the bottom line of all of this is that Goodell has sent a message to every player and every team that he will not tolerate anything that may tarnish the integrity of the NFL.

“There are 32 members in the NFL family, and the other 31 were looking to the commissioner’s office to do the right thing. The commissioner’s office, in their mind, has not only done the right thing but sent a very powerful message across the bow of every NFL player, every NFL coach and every NFL owner and general manager,” said Esiason. “These kinds of shenanigans have gone on for years, but when you have the Colts accusing the Patriots of doing something and the NFL feeling they have enough evidence to hold it against the Patriots, you’re going to get this kind of reaction.”

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Listen to the full podcast with Boomer Esiason: