The “Deflategate” scandal that tainted the New England Patriots’ run to Super Bowl XLIX and eventually led to a four-game suspension for quarterback Tom Brady has now long been at rest. But for New England, the stigma of accusations that they deliberately underinflated balls in the 2014 AFC Championship Game has never quite disappeared, nor have those with an axe to grind against the Patriots ceased in bringing it up.
Prior to their Week 7 Monday Night Football game against the Patriots, Chicago Bears defensive lineman Justin Jones drudged up Deflategate while speaking to the media, saying that “deflated balls” were the first thing that came to mind when he thought of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick before implying that the Patriots are still underinflating their footballs.
“I heard it’s still goin’ on, so I’m gonna check the (balls) before we go,” Jones said. “I’m so serious, I heard it’s still goin’ on, so we’re gonna see. … I’m for sure checkin’, we play this game with honesty, man.”
Whether or not Jones is serious or doing a bit is unclear, especially given that he has no personal cause to hold Deflategate against the Patriots: The incident was long settled by the time Jones, who played his college football at NC State, became a third round pick by the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2018 NFL Draft.
If anything, Jones’ comments drum up a little extra intrigue for a Patriots-Bears matchup that otherwise lacks it. The Bears limp into this matchup at 2-4 on the heels of several uninspiring performances, while the Patriots are 3-3 and on a two-game winning streak thanks to rookie Bailey Zappe filling in admirably for the injured Mac Jones.