BOSTON — Now that authorities believe they have recovered the jersey stolen from Tom Brady’s locker following the Patriots’ Super Bowl win last month, the next step will be determining whether it is in fact the MVP quarterback’s missing grass-stained garment.

So how exactly does that happen?

Old-fashioned detective work.

Experts in the sports memorabilia industry, including one that has worked directly with NFL teams, say it is a tedious process that involves comparing photos and videos that captured degradation to the jersey during the game. They also compare the jersey to team-issued serial numbers and other player-specific customizations that authentic jerseys typically have.

“Every jersey is like a fingerprint. No two jerseys are alike,” said Barry Meisel, president of the MeiGray Group, which has authenticated game-worn sports memorabilia since 1997. “They’re hand-stitched, full of dirt, mud, helmet stains, turf skids and burns. When you look at jersey after a game it’s unique.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined Wednesday to discuss the authentication process due to security reasons, writing in an email only “there are a number of procedures we have been using.” The FBI also has not commented on the methods it is using.

Brady’s jersey went missing from the Patriots’ locker room after their Super Bowl win over the Atlanta Falcons Feb. 5, setting off an investigation that stretched from Boston to the Mexican border.

Working with U.S. investigators, Mexican authorities obtained a warrant to search the property of Martin Mauricio Ortega, a tabloid journalist who colleagues say went to the game with a media credential, but bragged he was there as a fan. Authorities recovered the jersey, along with another Brady jersey that disappeared after the 2015 Super Bowl. A helmet belonging to a Denver Broncos player – possibly Von Miller – was also discovered. Ortega quit his job two days after the search, but has not been charged in the case and has not been located for comment.

MeiGray Group has authenticated jerseys for the NBA, NHL, USA Hockey, as well for Washington and the Los Angeles Chargers of the NFL.

Most of the authentication Meisel’s company is asked to perform involves a jersey coming from the hands of a league official from a player in the locker room. But he said even in those cases, a process called photo matching is used.

In photo matching, an authenticator would utilize all the available photos and videos that captured images of the garment and compare stains, tears, and abrasions the garment undergoes over the course of a game.

His company was once asked by a collector to authenticate a jersey that an auction house was purporting to have been worn by Boston Bruins great Bobby Orr the night the Bruins captured the 1972 Stanley Cup.

Photos of him drinking from the Cup in the locker room after the game were used to prove it was real, based on comparisons of repair marks and stitching on the jersey.

BENGALS: Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones faces three misdemeanor charges, including assault, but no longer is being charged with a felony for a January confrontation with hotel security guards, police and a nurse.

A felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance, for allegedly spitting at a nurse, was dismissed at the prosecuting attorney’s request, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said in a statement Wednesday. The felony charge carries a potential sentence of six to 12 months in jail upon conviction.

Deters said the misdemeanors also include disorderly conduct and obstructing official business.

VIKINGS: New running back Latavius Murray had ankle surgery Wednesday.

Murray left the Raiders as a free agent and signed last week with Minnesota, getting $15 million over three years, with $8.55 million guaranteed.

The Vikings said in a statement that they were “aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp.”

Giants: New York signed veteran running back Shaun Draughn, who has played for six teams in six years, most recently the San Francisco 49ers. He has played in 57 career games with seven starts.

JETS: New York signed former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Mike Pennel to a one-year deal.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville signed free agent tight end Mychal Rivera to a two-year contract. Rivera spent the first four years of his NFL career in Oakland, where he caught 146 passes for 1,413 yards and 10 touchdowns in 61 games.

Browns: Former Pro Bowl return specialist and wide receiver Josh Cribbs officially announced his retirement Wednesday, ending a career he began as an undrafted free agent quarterback out of Kent State.