Missing Brady jerseys tracked to Mexico: Police
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BOSTON — The mystery of Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jersey led police all the way to Mexico, and authorities were investigating a former tabloid newspaper executive’s possible role in the case.
Police and the NFL announced Monday that Brady’s jersey, which went missing from the locker room after the Patriots’ 34-28 overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons last month, had been found in Mexico. The NFL said the jersey was in “possession of a credentialed member of the international media.”
A Mexican newspaper company, the Organizacion Editorial Mexicana, said on Twitter a short time later that a former executive from the tabloid was involved. But it did not identify the executive, and said a statement was expected later in the day.
The missing jersey — and the subsequent investigation — captivated Patriots fans and social media for several days after the Super Bowl. Brady lamented the theft after the game.
“If it shows up on eBay or something, somebody let me know,” he said.
Houston police investigators relied on a tip from an informant to trace the jersey, estimated to be worth about $500,000, to Mexico.
It wasn’t the only piece of memorabilia recovered. Police also located a Brady jersey that had gone missing after the Patriots’ 2015 Super Bowl win over the Seattle Seahawks. A Super Bowl helmet belonging to a Denver Broncos player was also found, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
Houston police chief Art Acevedo proudly congratulated his team on finding the jersey, but was equally quick to say it wasn’t a “top priority” in a city with violent crime. He described the theft as the only blemish on an otherwise successful Super Bowl.
“You don’t come to Texas and embarrass us here on our home turf,” Acevedo said.
Brady’s agent did not immediately respond to emails. A Patriots spokeswoman said the team had no comment.
The jerseys are in the possession of the NFL and FBI in Boston, and law enforcement was working to authenticate them, the chief said.
“We are highly confident that these are the jerseys,” Acevedo said.
Through the absence of Kyle Lowry and the angst behind a team that was floundering there for a while, there was an area of recent progress on the Raptors roster that kind of got overlooked.
Jakob Poeltl is in his rookie season, is the first Austrian ever drafted into the NBA and for the most part this season, a quiet presence on the end of the Raptors’ bench.
But lately Poeltl’s seat at the end of he Raptors bench has been unoccupied because the 7-foot product of Larry Krystowiak’s Utah program has earned himself some significant minutes.
Poeltl had a strong pre-season and with Jared Sullinger suddenly no longer in the mix found himself with some consistent minutes in the early part of the regular season before Dwane Casey and his staff settled on Pascal Siakam as the starting power forward.
The minutes dried up, but Poeltl continued to learn whether it was watching from the end of the bench, in practice, playing with the D-League 905s in Mississauga or the spot minutes he got in games with the parent club.
For most of that period Lucas Nogueira was eating up most of those back-up centre minutes and doing a solid job. Lately though it has been Nogueira on the end of the bench and Poeltl coming in. Through March he is averaging 12.8 minutes a night, the most playing time he has seen since November way back at the beginning.
“For me, just every time you put him in, he does something positive,” Casey said. “There’s that trust, not only with myself but with his teammates. He’s doing positive things, he plays with physicality. The only thing — and it’s not his fault — is cheap fouls, he gets a lot of cheap calls.”
Those calls will eventually even out as Poeltl earns some credibility with the league’s officials.
But make no mistake, it has been Poeltl’s eagerness engaging opposing players physically that has made his jump up the depth chart possible.
“He’s always in the right place, very few mistakes, he’s very physical, he’s not afraid, he loves contact,” Casey said. “All those things add up, this is a physical game ... and he meets all those criteria.”
Ironically it was the physical nature of the NBA game that Poeltl’s counts as the toughest adjustment he has made.
“Not now, not anymore because I feel like I’m used to it already,” Poeltl said. “I’m still not the most physical player but at least I’ve got adjusted to the new level of physicality in the NBA. But that was definitely a challenge to start the season, getting used to playing against bigger bodies and stronger guys.”
There’s also a natural feel for the game that, when you think about it, should be unnatural for a young man raised in Austria far away from any basketball hotbed.
Even Poeltl is a little unsure