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Among the reams of information collected by Deflate-Gate investigator Ted Wells were incriminating text messages between Jim McNally, a locker room attendant for the New England Patriots, and John Jastremski, an equipment assistant for the team who was responsible for preparing game balls.
Wells' report, released Wednesday, included the most damning of those exchanges, which took place in the weeks and months before the AFC title game, after which the Patriots were accused of purposely letting air out of balls so that quarterback Tom Brady could handle them more easily.
The texts show McNally and Jastremski discussing the air pressure of Patriots' game balls, Jastremski's plan to give McNally a needle to be used to inflate or deflate the balls, and McNally's request for money and gear.
The discussions began before the start of the 2014-15 season, when McNally referred to himself as “the deflator.” This exchange occurred on May 9, 2014:
McNally: You workingJastremski: YupMcNally: Nice dude....jimmy needs some kicks....lets make a deal.....come on help the deflatorMcNally: Chill buddy im just [expletive] with you ....im not going to espn........yet
Another exchange occurred after an Oct. 17 game between the Patriots and the Jets, when Brady complained about the air pressure of the game balls:
McNally: Tom sucks...im going make that next ball a [expletive] balloonJastremski: Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done...Jastremski: I told him it was. He was right though...Jastremski: I checked some of the balls this morn... The refs [expletive] us...a few of then were at almost 16Jastremski: They didnt recheck then after they put air in themMcNally: [expletive] tom ...16 is nothing...wait till next sundayJastremski: Omg! Spaz
Four days later, on Oct. 21, they communicated again:
McNally: Make sure you blow up the ball to look like a rugby ball so tom can get used to it before sundayJastremski: Omg
On Oct. 23, three days before the Patriots played the Chicago Bears, the two men exchanged more texts on the topic:
Jastremski: Can't wait to give you your needle this week :)McNally: [expletive] tom....make sure the pump is attached to the needle.....[expletive] watermelons comingJastremski: So angryMcNally: The only thing deflating sun..is his passing rating
They discussed the balls again the next day:
Jastremski: I have a big needle for u this weekMcNally: Better be surrounded by cash and newkicks....or its a rugby sundayMcNally: [expletive] tomJastremski: Maybe u will have some nice size 11s in ur lockerMcNally: Tom must really be working your balls hard this week
Their discussion continued the next day:
Jastremski: Size 11?Jastremski: 2 or 3X?McNally: Tom must really be on youMcNally: 11 0r 11 half......2x unless its tight fittingJastremski: Nah. Hasn't even mentioned it, figured u should getsomething since he gives u nothing
On Jan. 7, less than two weeks before the AFC title game, McNally and Jastremski discussed the possibility that McNally would receive autographed items from Brady:
McNally: Remember to put a couple sweet pig skins ready for tom to signJastremski: U got it kid...big autograph day for youMcNally: Nice throw some kicks in and make it real specialJastremski: It ur lucky. 11?McNally: 11 or 11 and half kid
On game day, just before kickoff, McNally indeed received two footballs signed by Brady, who was in the equipment room with him and Jastremski. Brady also autographed a jersey for McNally, the Wells report said.