We may now have a smoking gun in the ongoing "Deflategate" controversy. A former NFL quarterback claims he observed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady using beat-up footballs during a game.
Former Miami Dolphins quarterback A.J. Feeley told 97.5 The Fanatic over the phone on Wednesday that he witnessed Brady using a "beat-up" ball during a 2004 game, when the rules specified teams could only use new footballs provided by the league.
"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," Feeley said. "He's getting his own balls thrown in on offense. That was an issue to me at the time. ...We saw it then."
In 2006 Brady and then-Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning lobbied the NFL to allow teams to provide their own footballs during games, according to CBS Sports.
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 04: A.J. Feeley #4 of the St. Louis Rams in action against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 30: A.J. Feeley #4 of the St. Louis Rams looks to avoid being sacked against the New Orleans Saints at the Edward Jones Dome on October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Saints 31-21. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 03: Professional soccer player Heather Mitts and professional football player A.J. Feeley attend ESPN The Magazine's 'NEXT' Event on February 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for ESPN)
EARTH CITY, MO - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, A.J. Feeley of the St. Louis Rams poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Earth City, Missouri. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 13: A.J. Feeley #14 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a pass against the New England Patriots on August 13, 2009 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - 2009: A.J. Feeley of the Philadelphia Eagles poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by NFL Photos)
PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 18: A.J. Feeley #14 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on from the sideline against the Miami Dolphins on November 18, 2007 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO - 2006: A.J. Feeley of the San Diego Chargers poses for his 2006 NFL headshot at photo day in San Diego, California. (Photo by Getty Images)
DENVER - DECEMBER 12: Quarterback A.J. Feeley #7 of the Miami Dolphins throws against the Denver Broncos in the the fourth quarter on December 12, 2004 at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos won the game 20-17. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 19: A.J. Feeley of the Miami Dolphins is hit by Duane Clemons #92 of the Cincinnati Bengals after throwing a pass on September 19, 2004 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Dolphins 16-13. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MIAMI - 2005: A.J. Feeley of the Miami Dolphins poses for his 2005 NFL headshot at photo day in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Getty Images)
MIAMI - AUGUST 14: Quarterback A.J. Feeley #7 of the Miami Dolphins practices for the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Pro Player Stadium on August 14, 2003 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins won 16-5. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
IRVING, TX - DECEMBER 21: A.J. Feeley #14 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws during warmups before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium on December 21, 2002 in Irving, Texas. The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 27-3. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, : A.J. Feeley, the third string quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles who got his first start today against the St. Louis Rams, reacts after the Eagles beat the Rams 10-3, 01 December 2002 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, PA. AFP PHOTO/TOM MIHALEK (Photo credit should read TOM MIHALEK/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - 2008: A.J. Feeley of the Philadelphia Eagles poses for his 2008 NFL headshot at photo day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Getty Images)
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While Feeley's condemning statements against Brady seem damning, it's strange the former quarterback waited eleven years before speaking up.
Brady was suspended for four games earlier this week for his part in the deflation of several footballs during the AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens. Brady is expected to appeal his suspension.