Miss­ing Brady jer­seys tracked to Mex­ico: Po­lice

The Niagara Falls Review - - SPORTS - La Prensa

MARK PRATT

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.

MIKE GANTER

POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

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

Jakob Poeltl

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