FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addressed rumors Thursday that he knew the footballs were under-inflated during the AFC championship game.
“I didn’t alter the ball in any way. I have a process that I go through before every game where I go in and I pick the footballs that I want to use for the game,” Brady told reporters.
Asked whether he was confident that no one on his team had done anything wrong, Brady replied: “I have no knowledge of anything. I have no knowledge of any wrongdoing…I’m very comfortable saying that. I’m very comfortable saying nobody did it, as far as I know.”
But he added that he doesn’t have all the answers.
“I don’t know everything. I also understand that I was in the locker room preparing for a game. I don’t know what happened over the course of the process with the footballs. I was preparing for my own job, doing what I needed to do,” he said.
Brady repeatedly told reporters that he never noticed anything awry with the footballs during Sunday’s game. Before the game, he said, the last time he saw the footballs used was five hours before halftime, when he picked them out.
“I’ve always played by the rules. I didn’t do anything to break the rules,” Brady said.
Earlier Thursday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said that he was “shocked” to hear allegations that his team’s footballs were under-inflated in violation of NFL rules, a controversy that’s cast a shadow over his team as it prepares for Super Bowl XLIX.
Belichick denied having any knowledge of the situation, including how the footballs got deflated, and how it may have happened, at last Sunday’s AFC championship game, which the Patriots won handily, 45-7, over the Indianapolis Colts. He said that he’s learned more about the football inflation process in three days than he has known or talked about in his 40 years in the league.
“In my entire coaching career, I have never talked to any player (or) staff member about football air pressure,” the Patriots coach said. “That is not a subject that I have ever brought up. To me, the footballs are approved by the league … pregame, and we play with what’s out there.”
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