Tom Brady's New England Patriots Super Bowl jersey recovered in Mexico following FBI investigation

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots gestures late in the game against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium
A jersey worn by Brady in New England's Super Bowl XLIX victory over Seattle in 2015 has also been recovered Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The jersey worn by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in last month's Super Bowl has been recovered after apparently being stolen, the NFL has said in a statement.

Brady's jersey had gone missing during the celebrations after the 39-year-old collected his fourth Super Bowl MVP award, having helped the Patriots rally from a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28.

That sparked an investigation involving the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, who have recovered the jersey as well as the one worn by Brady in New England's Super Bowl XLIX victory over Seattle in 2015. 

The jersey was found in Mexico, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a post on Twitter.

"Through the cooperation of the NFL and New England Patriots' security teams, the FBI and other law enforcement authorities, the Super Bowl LI jersey worn last month by MVP Tom Brady has been recovered," a league statement said.

"Also retrieved during the ongoing investigation was the jersey Brady wore in the Patriots' victory in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks in 2015.

"The items were found in the possession of a credentialed member of the international media. Due to the ongoing investigation, we would refer any additional questions to the FBI."

Mexican authorities found the missing jersey at the home of Martin Mauricio Ortega, a former director of Mexico's La Prensa newspaper, in a raid following a Federal Bureau of Investigation request, a government source told Reuters.

Mr Ortega has not been arrested because he has not yet been charged, the source added, but the investigation is ongoing.

Mr Ortega could not be reached for comment on Monday, Reuters reported.

Tom Brady: to beat Falcons "was just a lot of mental toughness" Tom Brady: to beat Falcons "was just a lot of mental toughness"
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The Houston Police Department and league security were involved in the investigation, along with the FBI.

"You don't come to Texas and embarrass us here on our own turf," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters on Monday. He said the case, while not a major crime, had been investigated because "the only blemish that we had from the Super Bowl was these jerseys that were stolen from the locker room."

La Prensa said in a statement it had been informed that Mr Ortega had been involved in the theft.

"If it turns out to be true, (La Prensa) strongly rejects the conduct of Martin Ortega ... who took advantage of the position he had to use the La Prensa newspaper to get accreditation and gain access to the field," it said in a statement.

Ortega resigned last Tuesday, citing personal reasons.

The jersey could have been sold to a collector for "great monetary gain," Mr Acevedo said.

Brady issued this statement through his agent, Don Yee: "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. 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."

The quarterback said he had put the jersey in his bag after the game but later discovered it had gone missing. 

"It's unfortunate because that's a nice piece of memorabilia," he said at the time. "If it shows up on eBay some day, can you let me know so I can track that down?

"That was a pretty special one to keep. But, what can you do? I'll take the ring and that's good enough for me."

New England have won five of the past 17 Super Bowls, with Brady under centre every time