Patriots Notes: Brady, Fletcher, DeflateGate

Tom Brady‘s legacy will forever be scarred by the damning Ted Wells report, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report opines. When the scandal first broke, Brady asserted that he “didn’t alter the ball in any way” and had “no knowledge of wrongdoing.” However, the Wells Report says that it’s “more probable than not” that he was at least generally aware of air being released from the game balls. Now, the question is, what penalties will be levied against the Patriots and which individuals will be taking the hit. The latest from New England..

  • Free agent linebacker Dane Fletcher, who played for the Patriots from 2010-2013 and was with Buccaneers last year, visited New England today, according to Mike Reiss of (on Twitter). Fletcher, 29 in September, played in all 16 games (four starts) for the Bucs last season, notching 41 total tackles and 0.5 sacks.
  • At this point, it’s more likely the league sanctions the Patriots organization for the DeflateGate scandal than coach Bill Belichick himself, Albert Breer of tweets. The league will look at discipline for Belichick, but the evidence in the Wells Report makes it look less likely (link). Still, Breer (link) cautions that everything is fluid and things can change.
  • The Patriots might not be hammered much harder than the Browns and Falcons were for their infractions last year, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. The Browns were fined but lost no picks for their in-game texting. The Falcons, meanwhile, paid a fine and forfeited a 2016 fifth-round pick for their artificial crowd noise.
  • The report found no evidence to corroborate a story from ESPN earlier this year asserting that the Pats attempted to put a kicking ball (“k-ball”) into live game action, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk notes.
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