Salem, MA - Tom Brady remains coy on Deflategate. – Salem, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Tom Brady remains coy on Deflategate.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the Wells report was released Wednesday, the Patriots quarterback said, "I don't really have any reaction," when pried by Jim Gray at the Salem State Speaker Series, a pre-scheduled Q&A appearance.
"It's only been 30 hours, so I haven't had much time to digest it fully, but when I do I'll be sure to let you know how I feel about it -- and everybody else," Brady said.
"Are you that slow a reader?" Gray jokingly asked.
"My athletic career is better than my academic career," Brady joked back. "[I] usually only read X's and O's. This was a bit longer."
Gray then asked Brady when he expects to address the issue publicly.
"Hopefully soon. Hopefully soon," Brady replied. "There's still a process that's going forth right now. Whenever it happens, it happens. I'll certainly want to be very comfortable in how I feel about the statement that I make."
Asked if this detracted from his joy of winning the Super Bowl, Brady said, "absolutely not," drawing out the word "absolutely."
"Because we earned and achieved everything that we got this year as a team," Brady continued. "I'm proud of that and the fans should be, too."
Earlier Thursday, the agent for Brady responded to the release of the Ted Wells probe on deflated footballs used by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game last January and said the report contained "significant and tragic flaws."
The league issued Wells' 243-page report on Wednesday and agent Don Yee criticized its results.
"The Wells report, with all due respect, is a significant and terrible disappointment," said Yee in a statement released by numerous media outlets. "It's omission of key facts and lines of inquiry suggest the investigators reached a conclusion first, and then determined so-called facts later."
Wells, the NFL-appointed attorney who conducted the investigation, wrote that Brady was "generally aware" that two Patriots employees, locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski, "participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee."
Yee, on Thursday, said a majority of his client's testimony was omitted from the report.
"I was physically present for my client's interview," Yee added in the statement. "I have verbatim notes of the interview. Tom made himself available for nearly an entire day and patiently answered every question. It was clear to me the investigators had limited understanding of professional football. For reasons unknown, the Wells report omitted nearly all of Tom's testimony, most of which was critical because it would have provided this report with the context that it lacks. Mr. Wells promised back in January to share the results of this investigation publicly, so why not follow through and make public all of the information gathered and let the public draw its own conclusions?"
New England rolled to a 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game on January 18 at a rain-soaked Gillette Stadium. Reports began to surface in the hours after the contest that footballs were not correctly inflated, which would apparently allow for a better grip in inclement weather.
The Colts complained that several footballs were under inflated. As a result, at halftime, the league tested the air pressure of the balls being used by both teams.
The NFL requires balls to be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. All eleven of the Patriots' game balls tested measured below the minimum pressure level.
Yee said Thursday that the Colts and the league, in effect, conducted a "sting operation" at the AFC title game.
"What does it say about the league office's protocols and ethics when it allows one team to tip it off to an issue prior to a championship game, and no league officials or game officials notified the Patriots of the same issue prior to the game?" Yee stated. "This suggests it may be more probable than not that the league cooperated with the Colts in perpetrating a sting operation. The Wells report buries this issue in a footnote on page 46 without any further elaboration."
Before the Patriots went on to a 28-24 win over Seattle in the Super Bowl, Brady, Patriots coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft all denied accusations that the team intentionally deflated its footballs.
The Wells report found no evidence that the club's ownership, Belichick or head equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld knew of the deflation practice.