Former NFL QB A.J. Feeley says he saw Tom Brady use illegal footballs

A.J. Feeley played quarterback for five different NFL teams during an 11-year career that began in 2001. On Wednesday, Feeley said that during his time with the Dolphins in 2004, he observed Tom Brady using a "beat-up" football during a game when the rules stipulated that new footballs provided by the league had to be used.

“Prior to Tommy and Peyton Manning going to the league and saying, ‘Let us doctor our balls’ we used to all play with the same balls,” Feeley told 97.5 The Fanatic, via PFT.

(In 2006, two years after Feeley says he saw Brady breaking the rules, the NFL allowed teams to provide their own footballs for use during games, thanks largely to the lobbying efforts of Brady and Manning.)

Feeley continued: “Somehow this beat-up ball from the ball boy was getting thrown in on offense for New England, yet when we were on offense this orange brand new ball was getting thrown in.”

So for those of you who think January's AFC Championship Game wasn't the first time Brady and the Patriots were guilty of skirting the rules, here's your (alleged) smoking gun. For those of you wondering why Feeley waited 11 years to speak up, that's a fair question. Either way, Feeley says he didn't appreciate the gamesmanship.

“He’s getting his own balls thrown in on offense,” Feeley said. “That was an issue to me at the time. ...We saw it then.”

Brady is expected to appeal his suspension. And while it's unclear if the suspension will be reduced, it may not really matter; the Patriots remain the favorites to win the AFC East.

Tom Brady could miss the first month of the 2015 NFL season. (Getty Images)
Tom Brady could miss the first month of the 2015 NFL season. (Getty Images)
CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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