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Tom Brady says he did not alter game balls before AFC Championship

Tom Brady explained his pregame routine Thursday, and insisted that he did not alter or ask that balls be deflated before the AFC Championship.

Tom Brady told media Thursday afternoon that he did not alter the footballs in any way during the AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts, nor did he ask for game balls to be deflated. Brady said he went through his normal pregame routine, which involves picking out game balls to be used by the offense.

"I choose the balls that I want to use for the game," Brady said, "and that's what I expect to go out on the playing field with."

Brady faced a packed room of reporters. Several asked how the New England Patriots quarterback could not tell that there was a weight difference between the balls he picked up in pregame and the balls he used in the first half against the Colts, and again from the first half to the second half when the game balls were reportedly re-inflated.

"From the first half to the second half I didn't think twice about it," Brady said. "I hadn't put one thought into the football at that point."

Brady also fielded several questions about his character. He was asked, point blank, if he is a cheater.

"I don't believe so," Brady said. "I feel like I've always played within the rules. I wouldn't do anything to break the rules."

Brady said he no knowledge if any of the equipment staff deflated game balls, nor has he asked them if they did anything. Brady added that he would not have wanted that kind of help.

"When I felt [the game balls], the were perfect." Brady said, "I wouldn't want anyone touching those."

According to Brady, the first he heard of the issue was Monday morning. When asked about radio comments he made that suggested he wasn't taking the allegations seriously, Brady said that he had simply been caught off guard.

"I would never doing outside of the rules of play," Brady said. "I would never have someone do something that I thought was outside of fair rules."

When asked how the team is handling any adversity brought about because of the scandal, Brady delivered perhaps the most memorable comment from the press conference.

"We're gonna be fine," Brady said. "This isn't ISIS. No one's dying."

Brady is attempting to bring DeflateGate to a close. He told his teammates that he prefers to have his footballs "a certain way," according to NBC News. He also reportedly told his teammates to focus on the Super Bowl and not be distracted by the scandal that has emerged in the wake of the AFC Championship.

NFL officials reportedly found that 11 of the Patriots' 12 game balls were under-inflated. League rules require game balls to be inflated to between 12.5 pounds and 13.5 pounds per square inch. The under-inflated balls were found to be two pounds below regulations.

Bill Belichick stated earlier Thursday that he had no knowledge that the Patriots were playing with under-inflated balls until Monday morning. Belichick added that he didn't even know the league's regulations regarding the inflation of game balls until a few days ago. He directed all questions regarding the balls to Brady and the team's equipment staff.

"Tom's personal preferences on his footballs are something that he can talk about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide," Belichick said. "I have no explanation for what happened."

In terms of the investigation, Belichick said that the Patriots' have fully cooperated with league officials.