Colts talked to league about balls before AFC title game
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) General manager Ryan Grigson said Thursday that the Colts had contacted NFL officials before last month’s AFC championship game about their concerns with New England’s game balls.
Grigson did not say how the team was tipped off. Previous reports have indicated Indy first became suspicious after Mike Adams picked off two of Tom Brady’s passes in November and that the Ravens had noticed the kicking balls were softer during a divisional-round loss to the Patriots.
All Grigson would say is that Indy knew what to expect.
”We took the proper steps to try and ensure that (fairness) and it’s up to the league to make sure that happens,” Grigson said. ”If rules were broken, we’ll see. If not, that’s what the investigation is for. Again, we are just doing our jobs and trying to ensure that we give our team the best chance to win on a level playing field.”
League officials have not provided any updates on Ted Wells’ investigation into ”Deflategate.”
All along, the Colts have acknowledged the inflation level of the game balls used by New England’s offense were not the reason they lost 45-7. Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano have mostly remained quiet, instead deferring to the league office.
Pagano, a former Ravens defensive coordinator, said he had spoken with Baltimore’s staff during that week about an unusual formation New England used in its playoff game and other things.
Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh insisted that Baltimore was not involved.
”There’s not one shred of any kind of fact that would in any way lead to any reason to believe that’s true, and it’s been a long time since that report was put out,” he said Wednesday at the NFL’s annual scouting combine in Indianapolis. ”There was nothing there, it didn’t happen, and I’m not sure why it hasn’t been recanted, to be honest with you.”
Grigson declined to say how the Colts knew there might be a problem but that their concerns went deep enough to warrant a call to the league office.
The Patriots have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and a radio station even suggested earlier this month that it was actually the Colts who took air out of the ball D’Qwell Jackson intercepted in the championship game.
”That’s ludicrous,” Pagano said, responding to the implication Indy was at fault.
What the Colts will do now is wait to see what the investigation finds.
”We went into the game, we had some issues, but we are going to do what we can and that’s to participate with the league and the investigation and wait until the Wells Report comes out,” Grigson said. ”We really have no other recourse than to wait until that investigation comes out.”
New England, New Orleans and Philadelphia are the only teams not scheduled to speak in the combine media room this week.
Notes: Grigson would not say whether running back Trent Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, would return next season. Richardson is expected to be released after two sub-par seasons with the Colts, who got him in a trade from Cleveland. The Colts also are waiting to hear whether receiver Reggie Wayne and defensive end Cory Redding will play next season. Both players, who are in their mid-30s, can become free agents next month.
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