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Saturday, February 9, 2008
Former Patriots video assistant shares little insight into Spygate

Associated Press

LAHAINA, Hawaii -- The life of a golf pro on Maui seems to fit Matt Walsh well.

Even with all the telephone calls he's been avoiding in the last week, since his name came up in the NFL's Spygate affair, Walsh isn't complaining. On a gorgeous Saturday morning, he sat in a chair overlooking the Kaanapali Resort with an easy smile on his face.

And no answers to offer.

Walsh is a former assistant coach for the New England Patriots who performed some videotaping duties for the team. A few days before the Super Bowl, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) asked why Walsh was not interviewed during the NFL's investigation into Spygate.

Asked Saturday whether he'd been contacted by Specter's office or by the NFL, Walsh smiled and said, "I really can't answer that.''

Nor would Walsh say if he was under a gag order from his attorneys, even though that seems obvious. On Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned that his staff was talking with Walsh's representatives, trying to gauge whether Walsh had any new information to offer and if Walsh was free to talk to the league.

Does he have info? Is he free to talk?

"I can't comment on anything,'' Walsh replied. "I'm really sorry, but I can't.''

Goodell reiterated at a Pro Bowl practice this week that the case against the Patriots is not closed if any more information is uncovered about the team videotaping opposing coaches' signals. The NFL fined coach Bill Belichick $500,000, slapped the Patriots with a $250,000 fine and stripped them of this year's first-round draft pick.

Belichick handed over six tapes and accompanying notes, which the team said was all the material it had gathered. Then came a report that the Patriots videotaped the Rams' walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl, and that Walsh was involved in that taping.

"We were aware of this before,'' Goodell said. "We pursued it and weren't able to get any information that was credible. We were aware of some of the rumors and we pursued some of them and we continue that. From Day 1, I said if we feel there is new information that's inconsistent with what we've been told [by the Patriots], I reserve the right to reopen it.''

Does Walsh expect that to happen?

A smile, and silence.

Is he amused by all the questions being raised, or all the phone calls by the media trying to track him down?

"Don't think I can comment on that,'' he said.

Walsh did ask a reporter how long he would be in Maui, whether he was in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, and where the reporter was staying. He nodded approval when told which hotel was media headquarters.

"I've been there,'' he said. "Very nice place.''

As is the Kaanapali course, which will host the Wendy's Champions Skins Game Three-Tour challenge later this month featuring Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Gary Player, Jay Haas, Loren Roberts, Fuzzy Zoeller and Peter Jacobsen. It's also the home course for the Golf Channel show "Big Break.''

Several times, Walsh answered the pro shop phone, but only to confirm tee times or give information about the resort. Asked how many phone messages he'd received in the last week, he once again smiled -- silently.

According to his bio on the Kaanapali Golf Web site, Walsh worked in Arena Football, for seven years with the Patriots, who won two Super Bowls in that span, and one year in NFL Europa.

He also trained with the U.S. Bobsled team.

None of that was fodder for conversation Saturday, either.

Walsh was rumored to have attended the Giants' 17-14 win over the Patriots in last Sunday's Super Bowl, but offered no information on that.

As for his future -- other than giving golf lessons and playing when he gets the chance -- Walsh wasn't about to speculate.

"Do you expect to hear from Congress or the NFL or your lawyers anytime soon?'' he was asked.

"Can't say,'' he replied before asking for the reporter's business card. "I have to get back to work. Thanks for coming out. I hope you enjoy Maui and the Pro Bowl.''