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Pats ask NFL to reinstate banned employees

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The New England Patriots have asked the NFL to reinstate John Jastremski and Jim McNally, the suspended employees who allegedly had a role to take air out of game balls in the Deflategate scandal.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed Wednesday that the request is under review by the league.

The Patriots suspended Jastremski, the team’s equipment assistant, and McNally, the team’s officials locker room attendant, after the Ted Wells investigation into whether quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots conspired to break rules by intentionally deflating game balls in the AFC Championship game.

The Patriots suspended Jastremski and McNally despite the team denying any wrongdoing. Team sources had told ESPN that the club was informed by league officials that if it didn’t suspend Jastremski and McNally, the NFL would do so. Jastremski and McNally are banned from working for the Patriots until they are cleared by the NFL.

Jastremski and McNally became central figures in the case due to text messages they exchanged in the weeks and months prior to the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

In one of the texts uncovered in the probe, McNally referred to himself as “the deflator.”

Brady’s four-game suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was nullified in federal court last week by U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft did not appeal the Patriots’ $1 million fine and the loss of a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017 as part of the Deflategate penalties.

During his appearance on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” on Tuesday, Goodell was asked whether the suspensions of the two employees came at the request of the league.

“Absolutely not. That was a decision by the Patriots,” Goodell said.

Brady expressed empathy for Jastremski and McNally when he addressed the media Sunday for the first time since his four-game suspension was vacated.

“It’s been a very tough situation for everybody. It’s put a lot of stress on everybody’s families,” Brady said Sunday. “I feel bad that anybody is in the position that we’ve been put in. Hopefully we can just keep learning from life’s experiences, and I certainly feel terrible for them that they’re not able to be with us right now.”

Brady didn’t reveal if he has been in contact with Jastremski or McNally, saying “those are personal things.”

Brady continued his support Tuesday when asked on WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan” radio show whether he wants the staffers back with the team.

“Of course,” Brady said Tuesday of Jastremski and McNally. “Of course none of those things are my decisions but I feel terrible for what they’ve been put through, what their family’s been put through. I know what my family’s been put through and what’s happened. I just feel terrible that they’re not with the team.”


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