Deflategate just took an interesting turn, and this time, it has nothing to do with Tom Brady or the New England Patriots.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday (via Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman) that one unnamed long snapper would carry a paper clip into games this past season to deflate footballs before snapping them. Schefter also claimed, via Freeman, that an unnamed backup quarterback would deflate footballs for the starting quarterback on his team.
The news comes as Brady is appealing his four-game suspension for his part in the Deflategate scandal that rocked the NFL before this year's Super Bowl and cost the Patriots both multiple draft picks and a hefty fine. Patriots owner Robert Kraft ultimately decided against opposing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's ruling after initially decrying his decision.
Schefter's report suggests the illegal deflating of footballs to gain a competitive edge may be a much more widespread issue in the NFL than perhaps initially suspected. It's very possible, then, that Deflategate may be used as the impetus to explore this issue in the league more comprehensively and that the punishments handed to Brady, pending his appeal, will set the precedent in future cases.
In other words, don't expect the issue of deflated footballs to go away anytime soon.