Tom Brady's missing jersey could be in a laundry pile

Yes, Tom Brady's jersey is still missing.

As originally reported in the END AROUND -- our first, and perhaps, final such scoop -- Brady alerted Patriots owner Robert Kraft after Sunday's Super Bowl win over the Falcons that someone had stolen his game jersey at NRG Stadium.

Kraft didn't seem too broken up about the news in the moment, and Brady was able to smile about it. But other people weren't so flippant about the larceny: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released a stern statement that ended with a line that felt ripped from a bad CBS prime-time procedural: "Whoever took this jersey should turn it in. The Texas Rangers are on the trail."

NFL locker rooms are chaotic places -- this is especially so after a Super Bowl win -- so it always felt possible that Brady's jersey wasn't stolen at all, but rather sitting in a pile of dirty laundry somewhere. According to a Thursday report by TMZ, that might be exactly the case.

TMZ Sports spoke with law enforcement sources involved in the search who tell us they are "hopeful" the jersey was put on a team equipment truck destined for Boston. We're told the truck was never thoroughly searched before it left NRG Stadium in Houston -- and contains all sorts of team and player equipment. Our sources tell us the truck is scheduled to be unpacked in Boston on Thursday and cops are crossing their fingers the #12 jersey turns up!

I don't see the need for an exclamation point there, but I'm not here to debate Harvey Levin's editorial code. Personally, I think the Texas Rangers should check the basement of the Alamo and work backwards from there.

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