New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said today he "didn't alter the ball in any way" following accusations that the team used under-inflated footballs during its win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
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"I have no knowledge of anything," Brady, a three-time Super Bowl winner, said today during a news conference. "I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning that this happened."
"I choose the balls I want to use for the game," Brady said. "That's what I expect to go out on the playing field with."
Footballs, which are weighed before the game, must be inflated to no less than 12.5 pounds per square inch. A deflated ball could be easier to grip in bad weather, such as in Sunday's rain at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
"I just assumed they were exactly the same, first half, second half," Brady said. "I would never do anything outside of the rules."
"I don't know what happened over the course of the process with the footballs," Brady added. "I was preparing for my own job."
Indianapolis Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, whose interception of Brady during Sunday's AFC Championship game reportedly led to the inquiry, said he didn't notice anything wrong with the football, ESPN and the Associated Press reported.
"If anybody recognized anything, it definitely wouldn't come from me," Jackson said, according to ESPN. He said he only wanted to keep the ball as a souvenir.
The Colts had raised concerns as far back as this past November about under-inflated balls supplied by the Patriots following its regular-season Nov. 16 game, ESPN reported.
During that game, Colts safety Mike Adams twice intercepted Brady and gave the balls to the Colts' equipment manager to save. Both times there were concerns about the balls feeling under-inflated, sources earlier this season had told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Those sources also said that the Colts raised concerns to the league, which was aware of the issue going into Sunday's game, which New England won, 45-7.
"I have questions, too," Brady said today. "There's nobody I know that can answer the questions I have."
"I respect the league and everything that they're doing," Brady added. "It's a very competitive league. Every team is trying to do the best they can to win every week."
Asked whether Brady would be interviewed and to clarify who has been interviewed, the NFL said: "We are not commenting on the details of the review at this point."
In a news conference earlier today, Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick said in response to the accusations: "I have no explanation for what happened."
Belichick also said he is cooperating with the NFL's investigation.