MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — During the NFL’s “deflategate” investigation, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told the league he had destroyed his Samsung cell phone, and that meant the NFL couldn’t recover his text messages, as part of their investigation.

But are those messages really gone forever? When a cell phone is destroyed, can text messages still be recovered? Good Question.

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Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Brady for four games for getting rid of his phone. The league wanted to read some of the 10,000 messages Brady sent in the months leading up to the AFC Championship game- to determine if he had anything to do with deflating game balls. Those text messages are gone, but some believe they could have been recovered.

As the owner of Skyway Techs, part of Brad Cimaglio’s job is to try and retrieve messages from broken phones.

“We’ve had phones fall off of trucks. We’ve had phones get run over by cars. We even had a phone get shot once with something,” Cimaglio said.

So if the NFL were to walk into Cimaglio’s shop and ask for Tom Brady’s text messages, what would he say?

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“It depends,” Cimaglio said.

In Brady’s case, he told the NFL his assistant destroyed his Samsung phone and SIM card, and his text messages were gone.

“Samsung makes it complicated,” Cimaglio said. “All Android phones are complicated because there’s not a built-in SMS feature with Android.”

Cimaglio says some carriers do offer apps that can back up text messages for Samsung Android phones. With iPhones, messages are easier to recover if a phone is destroyed because the Apple iCloud is already built in.

“With iMessage, your messages are stored on a server,” Cimaglio said.

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Cimaglio says if your Apple iPhone is destroyed, the cloud will continue to store your text messages, but it depends on how much space you have in the cloud. For that, you’ll have to check your settings.

John Lauritsen