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Roger Goodell: 'Deflategate' probe could be 'getting near the end'

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says 'Deflategate' investigation could be 'getting near the end'

It has been more than two months since "Deflategate" was abruptly added to the sports lexicon, and it appears the NFL finally may be in the home stretch of its investigation into whether the New England Patriots intentionally used underinflated balls during a playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Speaking with Peter King of SI.com, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he believed Ted Wells, whom the league hired to lead the probe, could be close to wrapping up his investigation.

"I haven’t spoken to [Wells] for several weeks," Goodell said. "I think he's getting near the end, but there’s no requirement when."

The NFL has been criticized for an apparent lack of urgency with the investigation, but Goodell said it was important for the league to analyze all the available facts before coming to a conclusion.

“I think the most important thing is to get the right information, to get the facts and to get the truth,” Goodell said. "And not to make any judgments until you get that. We have been very careful on that. We followed the facts. We took the information. We determined that we should bring Ted Wells to further the investigation. We haven’t given him a timetable except to be thorough, be fair and get to the truth."

Goodell also shot down reports that the NFL was conducting some sort of sting operation during the game to catch the Patriots in the act of using deflated balls. He said he was not aware of any issue regarding the Patriots' possible use of underinflated footballs until after their AFC Championship win over the Colts on Jan. 18.

However, Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said at the NFL Scouting Combine in February that he contacted the NFL before the game to express concerns about the Patriots possibly using deflated balls in a previous game. Based on Goodell's comments, it appears he was unaware of Grigson's concerns before the game.

It remains to be seen whether the "Deflategate" saga will come to an end with the unveiling of the Wells report before the NFL draft on April 30.

"I guess [the wait is] always too long, because you want to get to that issue and deal with it," Goodell said. "It’s important not to exert any pressure to short-circuit or do anything other than be fair and transparent."

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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