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January 22, 2015 at 7:18 AM

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he doesn’t know how footballs were deflated

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks to the media during a press conference to address the under inflation of footballs used in the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium on Thursday in Foxboro, Mass. (Photo by Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks to the media during a press conference to address the under inflation of footballs used in the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium on Thursday in Foxboro, Mass. (Photo by Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Bill Belichick addressed the media Thursday (transcript) for the first time since reports emerged that 11 of the 12 footballs used by the New England Patriots during Sunday’s AFC Championship Game victory over Indianapolis had been underinflated, and the coach said he had “no explanation” for what had occurred between the pregame inspection of the footballs by the referees and kickoff.

“When I came in Monday morning, I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the footballs,” Belichick said. “I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning. I would say I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew or have talked about it in the last 40 years that I have coached in this league.

“I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls and the process that happened between when they were prepared and went to the officials and went to the game.”

Belichick said in his entire coaching career, he has never discussed football air pressuring with players or team staff.

“It’s unfortunate that this is a story coming off of two great playoff victories by our football team and our players,” Belichick said. “But again, we’ve been cooperative with the NFL investigation. We’ll continue to do so, and we will turn all our attention and focus on to the Seattle Seahawks, a very well-coached, talented, tough, competitive football team.”

Following his prepared statement, Belichick took questions from the assembled media – though he responded to most with the same answer.

Question: In your own investigation, did you find whether anyone willfully –

“I’ve told you everything I know,” Belichick said.

Question: There are a lot of people questioning your integrity, saying you’ll win at any cost.

“I’ve told you everything I know.”

Does quarterback Tom Brady handle the footballs following their pregame inspection?

“Those are all questions that should be addressed to the league.”

Those questions also likely will be addressed by Brady this afternoon. The veteran quarterback’s weekly news conference is today at 1 p.m. Pacific time.
MORE ON THE PATRIOTS’ FOOTBALLS

MORE ON THE SEAHAWKS

| More in News & Notes | Topics: Belichick, footballs

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