Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski responded to the charges in the Wells Report with a quick video statement on Wednesday afternoon:

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Tom Brady was found to be 'generally aware' of deflated footballs. (Getty Images)Hope the Commissioner is happy with his league's hatchet job on the most successful quarterback to ever play the game.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

BIO | ARCHIVE


It didn’t take long for Alfonzo Dennard to find a new team.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the former Patriots cornerback has been claimed by the Arizona Cardinals after being released by the Patriots on Tuesday.

After playing 10 and 13 games the first two years of his career respectively, the 2012 seventh round pick played in just six games last year before being played on injured reserve at the end of the year. He appeared to lose the confidence of the coaching staff.

Dennard had off field issues as well. He was arrested for felony assault on a police officer in 2013 and was arrested on suspicion of DUI just a few months later. He served 35 days in jail last March.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Tom Brady was named as one of the primary culprits in the Wells Report, but there doesn't seem to be much there. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady was named as one of the primary culprits in the Wells Report, but there doesn’t seem to be much evidence there. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

1)  The report is exhaustive, and it’s clear that Ted Wells did his due diligence — 103 days worth, to be precise. But there’s very little conclusive language, and there doesn’t appear to be much of a smoking gun. The decisive comments that some New England critics were hoping for — a videotape or other definitive evidence — doesn’t seem to exist, and the report reflects as much. That’s why the phrase like “more probable than not” is used so liberally throughout what should be the most damning paragraph of the report:

“It is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules. In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”

2) The report absolves the ownership and the coaching staff, and places the blame at the feet of three individuals: McNally, Jastremski and Brady. (Adam Schefter of ESPN indicated Wednesday afternoon that the league was “considering discipline” for the three of them.) For the record, it’s not clear whether or not the texts between McNally and Jastremski were supposed to be sarcastic, but if the communications can be taken at face value, Brady’s reps can make a real case that he may have been the victim of someone with a grudge against him.

But at the end of the day, it’s not a good for the quarterback, even if he did manage to get mixed up with a couple of guys he probably shouldn’t have ever come across. From the report:

“[Brady] claimed that prior to the events surrounding the AFC Championship Game, he did not know McNally’s name or anything about McNally’s game-day responsibilities, including whether McNally had any role relating to game balls or the game officials. We found these claims not plausible and contradicted by other evidence. In fact, during his interview, Jastremski acknowledged that Brady knew McNally and McNally’s role as Officials Locker Room attendant. Similarly, McNally told NFL Security that he had been personally told by Brady of Brady’s inflation level preference.”

3) If the discipline stops with Brady, Jastremski and McNally, what sort of punishment are we talking about here? It’s likely that Brady could get a heavy fine, but the real question is whether or not he’d be suspended for the 2015 regular-season opener, a nationally televised game at home against the Steelers. Would the league have the stones to do something like that and remove one of its biggest stars from a night that’s supposed to celebrate the game on a national stage? An interesting question.

4) Those text messages are . . . well, I’m not sure how you want describe them. In the exchanges between McNally and Jastremski, the two come off like middle-aged goofballs who are looking to wring everything they can out of the quarterback, with McNally making jokes about being “the deflator.” McNally told Wells the texts were “jokes,” but the duo sounds bitter in the wake of an incident earlier in the season when, following New England’s 27-25 win over the Jets in Week 7, the report stated Brady “complained angrily” about the inflation levels of the footballs, which prompted an exchange between McNally and Jastremski where McNally wrote “F— Tom” in a series of texts to Jastremski. And before the 2014 Bears game, McNally texts Jastremski, complaining about Brady and saying, “[expletive] watermelons [are] coming,” presumably an inference to the size of the footballs. He adds of Brady “the only thing deflating [Sunday]…is his [passer] rating.” Last May, McNally wrote Jastremski that he’s “not going to espn……yet.” The two also discuss Celtics tickets and new pairs of UGGs as gifts from Brady.

And 11 days before the AFC title game against the Colts, a text from Jastremski to McNally promised a “big autograph day,” with the clear insinuation being McNally had deflated balls to Brady’s specification and that sneakers and jerseys were part of the payoff.

Wells’ previous work used text messages to try to gain some clarity in the Dolphins’ bullying scandal. The biggest takeaway here if you’re involved with the NFL and you think there’s a whiff of scandal going on? STOP TEXTING.

4) There does appear to be some odd stonewalling on the part of the Patriots, who have insisted all along that they wanted to be as transparent as possible throughout the process. Brady did answer questions in an interview, but did not make documents/texts/emails available to investigators. And then there are conflicting stories as to how many times McNally was interviewed. In Robert Kraft’s statement, he said McNally “had already been interviewed four times and we felt the fifth request for access was excessive.” Wells wrote that the Patriots denied a follow-up interview of McNally after one meeting. Regardless of which story is the right one, it’s a bad look for a team to deny the league the opportunity for a round up follow-up questions.

5) The league deciding not to take any disciplinary action immediately following the release of the report is curious. Perhaps Roger Goodell and company are simply trying to gauge public reaction first. The NFL has made some calamitous missteps over the last year-plus when it comes to public perception in other disciplinary cases, and this might simply be a case of the league trying to figure out which way the wind blows before deciding to hand down a penalty.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Tom Brady Sr. vehemently defended his son Wednesday in the wake of the release of the Wells Report, which seemed to lay the blame (at least partially) at his feet.

Tom Brady Sr. vehemently defended his son Wednesday in the wake of the release of the Wells Report, which seemed to lay the blame (at least partially) at his feet.

“I don’t have any doubt about my son’s integrity — not one bit,” Tom Brady Sr. told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “In this country, you’re innocent until proven guilty. It just seems Tommy is now guilty until proven innocent.

“This thing is so convoluted. … They say that possibly — possibly — he was aware of this,” he added. “The reality is if you can’t prove he did it, then he’s innocent, and lay off him. That’s the bottom line.”

He called what’s going on “disgusting.”

“They had to protect their asses, and that’s what they’re doing,” Brady Sr. said. “I just read that four Colts balls were underinflated. Amazing. Amazing.

“They’re saying he’s possibly aware. … How do you put a cloud over somebody like this?” he asked. “To impugn somebody without conclusive evidence saying this is more probable than not? The reality is they have scientific evidence. Now they’re overriding the scientific evidence and badgering the Patriots. It’s disgusting.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

In non-Deflategate news, according to multiple reports, free agent linebacker and former Patriot Brandon Spikes is at Gillette Stadium for a visit on Tuesday.

In other Deflategate news, according to multiple reports, free agent linebacker and former Patriot Brandon Spikes is at Gillette Stadium for a visit on Tuesday.

The linebacker was drafted by the team in 2010. He spent four years with the team and was not re-signed following the end of the 2013 season. He reportedly did not have a good end to his time in New England, as he and Bill Belichick had their disagreements. He was placed on injured reserve at the end of the 2013 season, but Spikes maintained he was not injured and could have played.

In one season with the Bills, Spikes recorded 54 tackles playing in all 16 games.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Defenders of the Patriots are focusing on the fact that NFL investigator Ted Wells took more than 100 days to produce a 243-page report that concludes only that it’s “more probable than not” that Pats staffers deflated footballs before the AFC championship game after the urging of Tom Brady.

Much of the rest of the nation is looking at it differently, taking the circumstantial evidence to show that the Patriots clearly cheated and Brady lied when he implied after the game that he knew nothing about it.

Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel, not surprisingly, was quick to weigh in on the situation and condemn the Patriots, as he has been one of the most vocal critics of the team — and specifically Bill Belichick.

Although the Wells Report indicates that there is no evidence Belichick had any knowledge of what was going on, Doyle wonders how Belichick still is allowed to coach the team, especially after the Spygate controversy in 2007 proved him to be a rule-breaker.

Wrote Doyel in a column on the IndyStar website: Why did Belichick cheat? Ask him, or go with this: Because he’s a cheater.

Seven years later, the Patriots cheated the Colts — well, it is more than probable that they did — and I’ll be a son of a …

Bill Belichick is still the coach of the Patriots.

Could be a coincidence. No, really. It could. The Wells Report can’t tell you what to believe, because it never really came out and told us, definitively, what it believes. It only told us what is more than probable.

And it’s more than probable the Patriots cheated the Colts.

A cheating scheme that brazen[ly] was dreamed up by two attendants in the locker room?

I’m more than doubtful.

Elsewhere, there are calls for Brady to be suspended.

Wrote Bob Pompeani, sports director at Pittsburgh’s KDKA: Based on the #Deflategate investigation, Tom Brady deserves a suspension. He knew. He cheated. Season Opener=No Bell-No Brady.

Joked ESPNDallas’ Tim MacMahon: Tom Brady paid good money to watch Mayweather-Pacquiao. He’s been punished enough.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

The following is the full text of a statement from Patriots owner Robert Kraft made after the Wells Report was issued Wednesday afternoon: