Former NFL official Mark Baltz reported Jim McNally, the recently reinstated New England Patriots locker-room attendant suspended after the Deflategate scandal, to the NFL “six or eight years ago,” he told Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com.
In the portion of the interview published on Thursday, Baltz said McNally would request the game footballs “way, way before” locker-room attendants were supposed to receive them.
“If he could get them 10 or 15 minutes before he was supposed to get them, instead of the usual two minutes before the game—and there were some crews that let him do that—he would do it,“ Baltz said. “I wouldn’t let him take them early, and I think he eventually figured that out because he stopped asking for a while. I probably did 10 or 15 games up there [in Foxboro] and those first few times, he’d always ask. I always thought it was very suspicious.”
The Patriots reinstated McNally and John Jastremski, an equipment staffer, on Wednesday. Both were suspended indefinitely without pay for their role in Deflategate after investigator Ted Wells determined they conspired to deflate footballs for quarterback Tom Brady in exchange for memorabilia.
The NFL did place limitations on their duties: Jastremski is prohibited from handling footballs and McNally is barred from working as a locker-room attendant for officials or handling equipment.
Baltz also said that while most locker-room attendants would just sit and wait to help the referees, McNally would play catch with Brady before games and stand next to head coach Bill Belichick during games.
Baltz said the NFL never responded to his concerns about McNally’s behavior.