INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Peyton Manning tried to take the air out of “Deflategate” on Friday.
Even the evasive Broncos quarterback couldn’t make the questions disappear.
Two days after The Wells Report implicated Tom Brady and two team employees for underinflating footballs, Manning returned to his first NFL home and attempted to sidestep the issue three times.
“Like I said, I’ll speak it as clearly and slowly as I can. He’s my friend, he’ll always be my friend,” Manning told reporters before a fundraiser for the Indianapolis children’s hospital named in his honor. “I don’t know what happened, I don’t have much more than that for you.”
Manning and just about everyone else is trying to avoid the topic at all costs as league officials contemplate potential punishments.
Patriots quarterback Brady shed no substantive light on the matter in an interview Thursday night.
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, who tipped off league officials about the improper footballs in a letter to the NFL office before the AFC championship game, has not uttered a word since the report was released. Neither has team owner Jim Irsay.
And Indy coach Chuck Pagano sidestepped the issue Friday as the Colts opened a three-day rookie minicamp.
“Really, we’ve moved on and our focus is these young guys, our draft choices, the CFAs (college free agents), the tryout guys and evaluating these guys and seeing exactly what we have,” Pagano said.
Even fun-loving Colts punter Pat McAfee toned it down.
After being chosen as the pace car driver for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis, McAfee was asked whether he would check the air pressure in the Corvette Stingray he’ll drive at the start of Saturday’s race. He took a few laps with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, then was asked about his take on a report he said he has not read.
“It is a shame that a shadow is being cast over our sport right now because we have such a wonderful sport,” McAfee said. “Hopefully, we’ll get through this and people will be talking about something instead of this.”
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