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Released transcripts: Brady asked for 12.5 PSI


The Sports Xchange

The transcript of Tom Brady’s testimony during his arbitration hearing revealed a quarterback who was cagey when discussing the air pressure he wanted for footballs. It also showed that credibility was a critical issue to investigator Ted Wells.

ProFootballTalk and Fox Sports obtained copies of the transcript that was made public on Tuesday, and provided some exchanges between Brady and lawyers. Following the hearing, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the New England Patriots star’s four-game suspension.

ProFootballTalk’s excerpts focused on the air-pressure question.

In response to questions from NFL Players Association outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, Brady said he did not know about an attempt to deflate footballs, nor did he tell anyone to do it.

In fact, he said he was not aware of the legal limits for the air pressure until a 2014 game against the New York Jets. He was angry after that game because the footballs seemed hard.

Brady said he learned those balls had been inflated to 16 pounds per square inch (PSI), which prompted him to look up the rule for air-pressure limits.

He found out the range was from 12.5 to 13.5 PSI, and he told Patriots equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld to “make sure when the referees get the balls, give them this sheet of paper that highlighted” the minimum and the maximum. Brady specifically said at that time that the balls should be inflated to 12.5 PSI.

On cross-examination, attorney Lorin Reisner, representing the NFL, asked Brady how he arrived at 12.5 PSI as his preferred inflation.

Brady: “We basically just picked a number at that point, I guess, historically, we had always set the pressure at — before John Jastremski took over, it had been historically set at, like, 12.7 or 12.8. That’s what I learned after the fact. And I think based on the Jets game, I said why don’t we just set them at 12.5, bring this (copy of the rule) to the ref and I didn’t think about it after that.”

Reisner asked again why Brady would pick 12.5 PSI.

Brady: “Ball pressure has been so inconsequential, I hadn’t even thought about that. I think at the end of the day, the only time I thought about it was after the Jet game and then after this was brought up, after the (AFC) championship game. It’s never something that has been on my radar, registered. I never said ‘psi.’ I don’t think I even know what that meant until after the (AFC) championship game. It was something that never crossed my mind.”

Reisner: “Did you pick 12.5 because it was toward the lower end or the lower end of the permissible range?

Brady: “I’m not sure why I picked it in particular, other than having to put some — I think John (Jastremski) said he did either 12.5 or 12.6. You know, we had to pick some number that we were ultimately going to set them to, so I said why don’t we just set them all to 12.5 and that was it.”

Reisner: “Is it fair to say that you prefer the footballs inflated to a pressure level at the low end of the range?”

Brady: “Like I said, I never have thought about the ball, the air pressure in a football. The only time I have ever thought about the air pressure in a football was after the Jets game when they were at the level of 16. So whenever I went to pick the game balls, I never once in 15 years ever asked what the ball pressure was set at until after the Jet game. So whether it’s 12.5 or 12.6 or 12.7 or 12.8 or 12.9 or 13, all the way up to the Colts game, I still think it’s inconsequential to what the actual feel of a grip of a football would be.”

The Fox Sports excerpt revealed something about the thought processes of investigator Wells, who was questioned by Brady’s lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler.

Kessler: “You rejected the testimony of Mr. Brady that he knew nothing about the ball deflation in the AFC Championship Game, right? You rejected that?”

Wells: “I did reject it based on my assessment of his credibility and his refusal or decision not to give me what I requested in terms of responsive documents. And that decision, so we can all be clear and I will say it to Mr. Brady, in my almost 40 years of practice, I think that was one of the most ill-advised decisions I have ever seen because it hurt how I viewed his credibility.”

Kessler: “If he had given you that, you would have accepted his statement?”

Wells: “I do not know. I can’t go back in a time machine, but I will say this. It hurt my assessment of his credibility for him to begin his interview by telling me he declined to give me the documents. And I want to say this. At that time, neither his lawyer nor Mr. Brady gave me any reason other than to say, … ‘We respectfully decline.’ There wasn’t anything about the Union or it wasn’t anything, this was what my lawyer told me and I am going to follow my lawyer’s advice. I was given no explanation other than, ‘We respectfully decline.’ And I did, I walked Mr. Brady through this request in front of his agents and lawyers. So I understood that he understood what I was asking for and they were declining.”

The Fox Sports excerpt also touched on the Brady cell phone that disappeared.

Reisner: “And you say you don’t recall precisely when you gave this phone to your assistant for destruction, correct?”

Brady: “Yes.”

Reisner: “But if you were following your practice, you would have done it around the time that you got a new phone, correct?”

Brady: “I’m not sure.”

Reisner: “Well, the letter that you just said accurately describes your practice says you destroy SIM cards when you get a new phone and ‘to destroy the actual device when he is done with the phone,’ right?

Brady: “My assistant does that.”

Reisner: “Right. So if your actual practice was being followed, the phone would have been destroyed, the phone you were using would have been destroyed around the same time you started using another phone, correct?”

Brady: “Right.”

Reisner: “And directing your attention back to the Declaration of Mr. Maryman, NFLPA Exhibit 6.”

Brady: “Yeah.”

Reisner: “The date of active use of your new phone, according to paragraph 4 of his declaration, was March 6, 2015, correct?”

Brady: “Yes.”

Reisner: “Do you remember anything else that happened on March 6, 2015?”

Brady: “No.”

Reisner: “Was March 6, 2015 the date that you were interviewed by Mr. Wells and his team?

Brady: “Possibly; I don’t know. Was it?”

Reisner: “If I represent to you that March 6, 2015, was the date you were interviewed by Mr. Wells and his team, you have no reason to doubt that, correct?”

Brady: “Right, correct.”

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