In its investigation into the DeflateGate fiasco, the NFL apparently has yet to question the New England Patriots player who most often handles the football.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said during a lengthy news conference Thursday that the league had not contacted him regarding reports that New England used under-inflated balls during its AFC Championship Game win over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday.
It surprised many that NFL officials had not spoken with the quarterback after four days of investigating. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, however, tweeted that it might not be quite so strange.
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Brady added he believes the Patriots defeated the Colts “fair and square” to earn a trip to Super Bowl XLIX and that he does not consider himself a cheater.
“I don’t believe so,” he said. “I feel like I’ve always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules. I believe in fair play, and I respect the league.”
Brady maintained he did not know how 11 of New England’s 12 footballs reportedly did not meet the NFL’s inflation requirements and that he has “no knowledge of any wrongdoing.” He said he has spoken with members of the Patriots’ equipment staff and believed them when they said they did not in any way tamper with the balls.
“I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” Brady said. “I don’t know what happened. I have no explanation for it. I don’t know what happened between the time I touched it and Monday morning.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said earlier Thursday that he, too, had “no knowledge” of how his team’s footballs wound up under-inflated.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images