Tom Brady sounds increasingly less hopeful that the jersey he wore in Super Bowl LI — a presumed theft that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft likened to the heist of “a great Chagall or Picasso” because of the inability of the robber(s) to display it — will ever be recovered.
Brady removed his jersey and shoulder pads on the field, replacing them with a championship T-shirt after the Patriots’ overtime victory Feb. 5. He handed them to a team employee, who took them into the locker room. Brady arrived to find them on the chair at his locker and stuffed the shirt into his carry-on bag. With the locker room still closed to members of the media, Brady posed for photos and mingled with teammates. Shortly afterward, the locker room opened to media members and Brady, returning to his locker, discovered that the jersey was no longer in his bag.
Since then, a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse — or at least a really detailed search by NFL officials and the Texas Rangers — has been undertaken, with no luck. Last week, TMZ reported that might have been packed along with the team’s other gear and loaded onto a truck destined to return from Houston to Gillette Stadium, a hope that was dashed.
“I know I have to talk to somebody this week in regards to them trying to find it,” Brady said, “but if they don’t, they don’t. It’s just a nice something to have, and we’ll see if it comes up.”
Another valuable item from the game, however, has turned up, a Patriots official told ESPN. The ball that James White carried across the goal line for the game-winning touchdown is safe and sound and resting comfortably in the Patriots’ Hall of Fame in Foxborough.
White lost track of it, but an equipment manager scooped it up in the chaos of the moment after White scored, as is always the case after touchdowns. “I wasn’t thinking in that moment,” White admitted on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” show. “I was too busy sprinting down the field.”