-- The suspended New England Patriots employees at the heart of the Deflategate scandal are expected to be reinstated within the next 24 to 48 hours, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The team suspended equipment assistant John Jastremski and officials locker room attendant Jim McNally as part of the investigation into whether the footballs the team provided for the AFC title game were improperly inflated. In one of the more damning texts uncovered in the probe, McNally referred to himself as "the deflator."
Schefter reported in May that the Patriots suspended Jastremski and McNally at the request of the NFL. In an interview with ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike last week, however, commissioner Roger Goodell said the league had nothing to do with suspending the pair.
"Absolutely not," Goodell said. "That was a decision by the Patriots."
The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked two draft picks as punishment. Quarterback Tom Brady had his four-game suspension vacated by a federal judge. The team has denied any wrongdoing.