Tom Brady said he didn't alter footballs, denies wrongdoing

New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady said he's innocent of any wrongdoing in the NFL controversy over deflated footballs in the AFC championship game.

"I didn't alter the ball in any way," Brady said. "When I pick those footballs out, at that point, to me, they're perfec. I don't want anyone touching the balls after that. I don't want anyone rubbing them, putting any air in them, taking any air out. To me, those balls are perfect and that's what I expect when I show up on the field."

Not everyone bought what Brady was saying, including two former NFL players.

"I did not believe what Tom had to say," former NFL quarterback Mark Brunell said. "Those balls were deflated. Somebody had to do it. I don't believe there's an equipment manager in the NFL that would, on his own initiative, deflate a ball without the starting QB's approval. That football is our livelihood. If you don't feel good about throwing that ball? Your success on the football field can suffer from that."

Added former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis: "I'm so disappointed because I thought this was a perfect opportunity for Tom Brady to go and say 'You know what? I made a mistake. I blew it. It's on me. I'll take the blame here, and this will go away.' He didn't do that . I'm disappointed in you,Tom Brady.

The NFL has reported that 11 of the Patriots' dozen game balls were significantly deflated below NFL standards.

It's been reported that Brady told his teammates that he likes the footballs "a certain way."

Brady said he's talked with the Patriots' equipment staff and they've said they didn't alter the footballs.

"Yeah and they haven't and I believe them," Brady said. "They also know how I like it and that's exactly the way they are. I feel like I have always played within the rules. I would never break the rules."

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Aaron Wilson
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he's a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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