Report: NFL official handled kicking game ball to Patriots' locker room attendant

Dave Grandlund
Per an report, an NFL official is reportedly responsible for handing a deflated football to a Patriots locker room employee before the AFC Championship game.

The report also states that Ted Wells, who is one of two men leading the Deflategate investigation, is aware of this news and apparently has video evidence of this development.

Here are the important points from this report:

The unapproved kicking ball that sources told "Outside the Lines" that a Gillette Stadium officials' locker room attendant tried to introduce into the AFC Championship Game was handed to the man by an NFL employee, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Wednesday.

The source said one of the "K balls," which are used only for special-teams play, went missing, and an NFL employee in charge of collecting balls for charity gave another ball to Jim McNally, who works the officials' locker room at Patriots games.

McNally then gave it to Greg Yette, an alternate official who was in charge of putting the K balls into play. When Yette saw that ball did not have the pregame marking that referee Walt Anderson had put on the ball, he became suspicious and alerted NFL officials in the press box, a source told "Outside The Lines."

A source told Schefter that the man in charge of collecting balls for charity in previous games has been fired by the league for selling the footballs meant for charity for a profit over a period of time.

The source said that a different NFL official also handed a ball to an equipment manager to be passed along to Yette later in the game.

The source said attorney Ted Wells and his team of investigators are aware of the chain of events, and have video of the exchange with the equipment manager. Wells has been hired by the NFL to conduct an investigation into accusations that the Patriots used underinflated footballs in the first half of their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts that sent them to the Super Bowl.

If this report is true, the Patriots may very well come out of all of this completely unscathed.

Read the full report here.

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