A Colts player once thought to have blown the whistle on the issue of deflated footballs in the AFC Championship game is now telling his side of the story.
D’Qwell Jackson was the Colts linebacker who caught the ball thought to be at the center of the controversy.
It was widely reported Jackson complained the football felt soft and told his team.
Thursday night at the Pro Bowl, Jackson denied that, saying “I wouldn’t know how that could even be an advantage or disadvantage. I definitely would have been able to tell if one ball had less pressure than another.”
Jackson told reporters he simply wanted to keep the football as a souvenir from a great play.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he did not know how 11 of the team’s 12 game day footballs dropped below the acceptable pressure.
The NFL has since released a statement saying the balls were under-inflated, but that it had not reached a conclusion on how it occurred or how it would resolve the cheating accusations.
“I don’t believe so. I fell like I have always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules,” Brady said when asked if he was a cheater.
Brady opened up about a process few cared about up until now – how he chooses the footballs hours before every game.
“When I pick those balls out, at that point, you know, to me, they are perfect,” Brady said.
“I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure,” said head coach Bill Belichick.
The latest controversy was not something the Super Bowl-bound team wanted to deal with while preparing for the game.
“I don’t like the fact that this is taking away from some of the accomplishments of what we have achieved as a team.
The spotlight has been on the issue with the footballs, but the Patriots were focused on the Super Bowl. The team leaves for Arizona on Monday.