With his four-game suspension nearing its end, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he’s been practicing only with hard balls to ensure he won’t again be accused of his balls being soft to get a better grip on them.
“I continue to believe there was no violation of my balls during our game with the Indianapolis Colts two years ago, but I’m looking ahead,” Brady said after his team, led by third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett, decisively defeated the Houston Texans last week. “I’m only practicing with big balls. I’m making sure I’m only handling big balls. I’m not touching small balls. I’m going above and beyond the rules to ensure that nothing that’s not the right hardness is in my hands.”
Under National Football League rules, balls are to be inflated at between 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch (psi). During the Patriot’s AFC championship game in 2014, Brady was accused of using balls that were softer than that.
Brady will be on the sidelines for one more week, as his team faces division rival Buffalo Bills. Then, in week five, when the Patriots meet the Cleveland Browns, Brady can return to the field to lead his team.
“It’s been tough not being able to help my team,” Brady said. “My teammates have done a great job. Jimmy Garoppolo was outstanding as quarterback the first two games, and Jacoby Brissett really showed what he can do at the position. I’m hoping to step back in and handle the football well. And to be sure I’m handling only a properly inflated football, I’m making sure the balls are bigger than they need to be. I’m just trying to be sensitive. I know all eyes will be on me when I’m out there gripping my balls again, and I want to make sure they’re big and hard and not soft.”
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