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Ex-NFL Quarterback Explains Why Deflategate Is 'Ridiculous'

"Everybody tries to get an edge," says Rodney Peete.

A year later, people are still talking about "Deflategate."

First, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for his role in allegedly deflating footballs in a championship game. Then he wasn't. Now he is again. Depending who you ask, the repercussions of this whole scandal have been fair, unfair, necessary, pointless, etc.

If you ask an ex-NFL quarterback about "Deflategate," however, you learn that there's another word to describe the idea of a quarterback requesting changes to footballs: common. 

To Rodney Peete, a 16-year veteran quarterback who began his professional career in 1989 with the Detroit Lions, Brady's involvement in "Deflategate" isn't as black-and-white as being labeled a unilateral cheater.

"I look at it as he bent the rules a little bit," Peete says. "Everybody tries to get an edge. And I can't confirm or deny that I ever asked the ball boy to inflate or deflate the balls." 

There's no way you know, 'OK, deflate it to 2.1-whatever.'

In the NFL, footballs are supposed to be inflated to a certain pressure gauge range. Reports suggested that balls supplied by the Patriots in the AFC championship game in the 2014 season were under-inflated. But, as Peete explains, players like Brady aren’t intentionally trying to cheat the system. 

"That's the problem... There's no way you know, 'OK, deflate it to 2.1-whatever,'" Peete asserts. "You say, 'Take a little air out of it, put a little air in.' That's it." 

For Brady to be singled out and portrayed as one who deliberately defied league regulations, Peete adds, is nonsense.

"The whole 'Deflategate' thing is ridiculous to me," he says. "If you talk to anybody that's played quarterback, there's always somebody tampering with the balls. So it's just a non-starter for me."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article referenced earlier, inaccurate reports that 11 of the Patriots' 12 balls were under-inflated by 2 psi. Most were under-inflated by between 0.5 and 1.5 psi.

Rodney Peete retired from playing football in 2004. He now appears on a variety of NFL and college preview and recap shows, and also stars in "For Peete's Sake" with his wife, Holly Robinson Peete, and their four children.

Peete shares another candid football reflection in his latest blog:

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