(NBC Sports/Michael David Smith) — Presidential pardons do not extend to NFL suspensions, but Tom Brady still may be heartened to know that the president-elect believes he got a raw deal when the league suspended him for the first four games of this season.

Donald Trump said in an interview recorded last month but first aired Friday night on FOX News that he thinks the NFL’s decision to suspend Brady was ridiculous.

“He’s a friend of mine, he’s a great guy, and he’s a great athlete obviously, but he’s a winner,” Trump said of Brady. “He played better when he had the other ball. I think Tom is totally innocent. I know him, he’s such an honorable guy, and I’m with him all the way.”

Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick have both called Trump a friend, and on January 20 they’ll have a friend in the highest of places.

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