New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, appearing Thursday night at a scheduled engagement at Salem State University in Massachusetts, declined to comment on an NFL investigation implicating him in a scheme to deflate footballs last season.
Brady, a four-time Super Bowl champion, said he would need time to digest the 243-page report that concluded he was "at least generally aware" there had been a violation of league policy.
Brady could face a fine and/or suspension from the NFL.
Asked by moderator Jim Gray when he would comment, Brady answered, "Hopefully soon, hopefully soon. There's still a process that's going forth right now, and I'm involved in that process. Whenever it happens, it happens. I'll certainly want to be very comfortable in how I feel about the statements that I make."
Brady spoke before a partisan crowd of Patriots fans who booed lustily when Gray broached the subject of "Deflategate." "Looks like you picked a pretty friendly place to reappear," Gray joked.
The Patriots were accused of using underinflated balls during last year's AFC championship win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Brady told Gray he didn't think his team's subsequent Super Bowl win over the Seattle Seahawks was tainted.
"No," Brady said, "absolutely not."
Brady said he was used to dealing with controversy.
"I dealt with this three months ago before the Super Bowl. I've dealt with a lot of adversity over the course of my career, my life," he said. "I'm very fortunate I have so many people that love me and support me. Life is so much about ups and downs. Certainly I accept my role and responsibility as a public figure.… You take the good and the bad."
Brady said he understood that, in some quarters, his public image was taking a beating.
"As a human you care what people think," he said, adding, "you learn as a public figure not everyone is going to like you, either.… There's a lot of people that don't like Tom Brady, and I'm OK with that."
Don Yee, Brady's agent, blasted independent investigator Ted Wells' report implicating the New England quarterback and two others.
In a statement released Thursday, Yee called the report "a significant and terrible disappointment." He said it omits "key facts and lines of inquiry" including almost all of Brady's testimony from a daylong interview with the investigators.
"For reasons unknown, the Wells report omitted nearly all of Tom's testimony, most of which was critical because it would have provided this report with the context that it lacks," Lee wrote. "Mr. Wells promised back in January to share the results of this investigation publicly, so why not follow through and make public all of the information gathered and let the public draw its own conclusions?"
The Wells report was released Wednesday after nearly four months of interviews as well as a review of text messages and security camera footage. It stated it was "more probable than not" that two Patriots employees were involved in a deliberate effort to break the rules and Brady "was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities."
Yee accused the league of "perpetuating a sting operation" against the Patriots after being tipped off by the Colts before the AFC championship game that New England might try to use underinflated balls.