For months, former NFL official Mark Baltz has had nothing to say about locker-room attendant Jim McNally, who was suspended for his role in #DeflateGate. Now that McNally has been reinstated, Baltz has gone on the record.
Baltz tells Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com that the Indy-based head linesman reported McNally to the league “six or eight years ago.”
“He always asked for the footballs way, way before he was supposed to get them,’’ Baltz said. “If he could get them 10 or 15 minutes before he was supposed to get them, instead of the usual two minutes before the game — and there were some crews that let him do that — he would do it. I wouldn’t let him take them early, and I think he eventually figured that out because he stopped asking after a while. I probably did 10 to 15 games up there [in Foxboro] and those first few times, he’d always ask. I always thought it was very suspicious. He certainly acted in a suspicious manner.’’
Baltz also noticed that McNally didn’t operate like other locker-room attendants.
“I always thought he was an unusual dude,’’ Baltz said. “Most locker room guys, they sit there and if you need something, they got it for you. When you left the locker room, you’d lock the door and they’d stay right there. The other 31 teams, that’s what they would do. That was his job.
“But McNally, he was running all around like a chicken with his head cut off. Asking for the balls early. What I specifically reported him for several years ago, and I thought this was really unusual, he’d run out on the field with the footballs before the game and the next thing you know, he’s playing pitch-and-catch with [Tom] Brady. Then, next thing, he’s on the sidelines right next to [Bill] Belichick, like he’s a [bleeping] assistant coach or something.”
Baltz said the NFL never responded to the concerns about McNally.
“He was always worried about the footalls,’’ Baltz said. “Always. It was very odd. I reported him to the league, but never got any reaction from them. I don’t think they thought it was a big deal at the time. But [McNally] did things that 31 other locker room attendants don’t do. . . . All I know is, when he got [the footballs], he would run. He would take off. Whether he was going somewhere and letting air out, I’m definitely suspicious, but I don’t know for sure.’’
I’m a little suspicious that we haven’t heard from Baltz sooner. Then again, I’ve always been suspicious of the guy who called himself “The Deflator.” And I can’t still understand why Commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t insist on testimony from McNally as part of the Tom Brady appeal hearing.