HOUSTON – The jersey worn by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady that went missing during Super Bowl LI last month has been found.
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said that in addition to the Super Bowl LI jersey that was found, investigators also recovered the jersey Brady wore during the team’s Super Bowl XLIX victory against the Seattle Seahawks in 2015.
McCarthy said that the jerseys were found in the possession of a credentialed member of the international media.
Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said that a tip from someone in Houston led investigators to a location in Mexico, where the jerseys were found.
"You don't come to Texas and steal when the eyes of the world are upon our state," Acevedo said.
A Mexican media company called Organización Editorial Mexicana, which owns the newspaper the man accused of being involved in the case worked for, said in a statement that he resigned on March 14, citing personal reasons.
The company said it learned of the allegations Monday and will work with authorities wherever necessary.
The paper said that if the accusations are true, it "strongly condemns" that the employee used his position "to obtain a media accreditation to be able to access the field of play, news conferences and probably other areas of NRG Stadium."
Brady, in a statement emailed to the AP from his agent, Don Yee, expressed gratitude to investigators but said he hadn't yet been reunited with the jerseys.
"I am happy my jerseys from SB 49 and SB 51 have been recovered, and I want to thank all of the law enforcement agencies involved," Brady said. "I know they worked hard on this case -- and it is very much appreciated. Hopefully when I get the jerseys back I can make something very positive come from this experience."
Acevedo said the jerseys are now in the possession of the FBI in Boston. He said that while the NFL is verifying the authenticity of the jerseys, he is highly confident these are the jerseys they have been seeking.
Brady said his Super Bowl LI jersey went missing after the Patriots 34-28 overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium on Feb. 5.
“I put it in my bag and I came out and it wasn’t there anymore,” Brady said the next day. “It’s unfortunate, because that’s a nice piece of memorabilia.”
The day after the theft, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he told the Texas Rangers, the state's investigative agency, to assist Houston police with the investigation.
Brady’s Super Bowl LI jersey was valued at $500,000, according to a police report.
Acevedo said that while this investigation was not a high priority for the department, it was a blemish on efforts to showcase Houston during the game.
"At the end of the day, it's a jersey, but we don have pride in our city," Acevedo said. "We have pride in our department and we have pride in our country, and I'm glad we were able to solve it."
Acevedo said the person responsible for the thefts could face charges of transporting stolen goods across state lines. He said the U.S. District Attorney's Office will make that decision.
Lt. Gov. Patrick released a statement that read, "I knew once the Houston Police Department and the Texas Rangers were on the hunt the jersey would be found. I always suspected someone in the media grabbed it because no one connected with the team would take it and the media was the only other group who had access to the locker room and would be carrying something to stuff it in. Note to the international media: Don't Mess with Texas."