Ravens Star Hints That Chargers May Have Tampered with Footballs

Many people forget that there was a third team involved in the NFL’s “Deflategate” scandal besides the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts.

Baltimore Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg allegedly tipped off the Colts about the Patriots’ use of under-inflated balls.

Well, the Ravens and Rosburg are involved in another controversy regarding footballs, this time surrounding the use of kicking balls — or K-balls — in their 22-10 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday.

Rosburg didn’t explicitly say that the Chargers tampered with the Ravens’ K-balls, but he did say Thursday that they were “different” from normal K-balls, The Baltimore Sun reported.

K-balls are only used for kicking plays and are kept separate from the rest of the footballs. They are usually slicker and harder than the footballs used on plays from scrimmage.

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Rosburg was talking about Ravens star kicker Justin Tucker missing what would have been a record-breaking 65-yard field goal at the end of the first half in LA.

“In that particular situation, even though you’re in Southern California and it never rains in Southern California, the field was such that it really was not a great plant area, and the footballs were different. Let’s leave it at that,” the coach said.

Tucker missed the 65-yard field goal, but before that he had another attempt that was canceled because the Chargers called timeout just before the snap.

Right after that practice kick, Ravens long snapper Morgan Cox tried to retrieve that same football by running the length of the field to where the ball landed.

Do you think the Chargers tampered with the kicking footballs?

But officials took that ball out of play and used a new K-ball — which Rosburg didn’t appreciate.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t get that same ball,” Rosburg said. “They didn’t put that ball back in play. He kicked a different one. Different in quotation marks.”

Tucker — the most accurate kicker in NFL history — also used the word “different” when describing the K-balls in the game.

“They just were different,” Tucker said. “The result of that hour or whatever it was from this last pregame (warmup), none of the footballs were very good, and it was no fault of our equipment staff by any means. It was just what it was.”

In addition to missing from 65 yards out, Tucker also missed a 53-yarder.

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It was just his fourth game in 111 career games that he missed multiple field goals. Tucker also made three field goals in the game, including a 56-yarder.

Tucker was aware that implying that the K-balls were “different” could create some headlines as the Ravens enter a pivotal Week 17 game against the Cleveland Browns, so he just reiterated what his special teams coach said.

“I don’t care to get too deeply into the specifics of it because at the end of the day, that can be misconstrued as an excuse when really all I would be trying to do is offer an explanation,” Tucker said. “So I’ll just echo what Coach Rosburg had to say in that the balls were just different than what we’re used to experiencing on your typical NFL Sunday.”

Although Tucker didn’t make history by connecting on the 65-yarder, he did make history with his consistency over the years.

With the three field goals vs. the Chargers, Tucker became the first player in NFL history to make at least 30 field goals in six consecutive seasons.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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