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Wells Report released on footballs used in AFC title

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Independent investigator Ted Wells submitted his report to Commissioner Roger Goodell and the New England Patriots on Wednesday in relation to the footballs used in the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The findings are now available to the public.

There are hundreds of pages of the report to go through, but here are some of the key sections that conclude the findings:

"We have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee.

"Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls," the report reads.

The reports says that other Patriots personnel were not aware of the effort.

"We do not believe that the evidence establishes that any other Patriots personnel participated in or had knowledge of the violation of the Playing Rules or the deliberate effort to circumvent the rules described in this Report. In particular, we do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick or any other Patriots coach in the matters investigated."

In relation to the kicking balls, the conclusion reads:

"We do not believe that the evidence supports a conclusion that there was any deliberate effort by the Patriots to circumvent the NFL's Playing Rules with respect to the kicking balls used during the AFC Championship Game."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also released a statement on the report:

"I want to express my appreciation to Ted Wells and his colleagues for performing a thorough and independent investigation, the findings and conclusions of which are set forth in today's comprehensive report," Goodell wrote.

"As with other recent matters involving violations of competitive rules, Troy Vincent and his team will consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type. At the same time, we will continue our efforts vigorously to protect the integrity of the game and promote fair play at all times."

Patriots owner Robert Kraft released his own statement on the matter soon after the report was released. 

"Throughout the process of this nearly four-month investigation, we have cooperated and patiently awaited its outcome. To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship Game, would be a gross understatement," Kraft wrote.

"While I respect the independent process of the investigation, the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me. Knowing that there is no real recourse available, fighting the league and extending this debate would prove to be futile. We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league."

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