Robert Kraft on D&H: ‘Never had a deal with Logan Mankins’
|09.13.10 at 12:26 pm ET|
Patriots owner Robert Kraft made a surprise appearance on the Dale & Holley show Monday morning to address recent reports about the team’s contract dispute with holdout offensive lineman Logan Mankins. Referring to Adam Schefter’s story that a deal fell apart when the Patriots demanded a public apology from Mankins for accusing team executives of lying, Kraft called the report a “bold-faced fib” and repeatedly stated, “We have never had a deal with Logan Mankins.”
Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
First of all, I must tell you, I was diligently working away and [media relations director] Stacey [James] popped down and said you folks were discussing the Mankins situation. I just said, you know, I want to come down here. I’m coming down as a fan of the New England Patriots. I want to correct a misconception that I believe is out there.
First of all, I’ll just tell you, it’s been a real busy week. We had that little automobile incident. We were happy and glad that we could sign our quarterback so that he’ll be playing here for five more years. We were able to sign Vince [Wilfork] to a long-term contract. And speaking as a fan, what happened here against Baltimore and the end of last year was really draining, draining. I’m glad we could get that corrected.
Yesterday we had a great victory. I think all phases of the team performed very well. I think it’s a time that those who are fans of the New England Patriots should feel good and real excited. I know I am about this upcoming season, and especially headed down to the New Meadowlands Sunday afternoon. Actually thinking about it, we’ll all be watching [Jets-Ravens] tonight and hope it’s a good physical game. I think we have a lot of friends in Baltimore who will be watching it as well.
I want to correct this. There’s a a misconception that we have had a deal with Logan Mankins. We have never had a deal with Logan Mankins. And I hate violating a private conversation, but I think it’s worthy, because it speaks to this issue. I got a call three weeks ago maybe, something around that time, from Logan, and he apologized to me for the comments that he made in the public media. He said he regretted he did it. He knew in retrospect that they were not true. I accepted his apology, because he’s a very high-quality guy. I also said to him, “You know, Logan, it would be nice if that was made public, because I’m hoping we do a deal with you. And I don’t want people to think that the way you do a deal is to say something that’s not true or involve ownership.”
And I also want to be clear about this: Ownership of the New England Patriots does not get involved in negotiations of contracts or make commitments to players. We bless them, we bless the deals. But we’re not involved. We never make commitments.
He understood that and he said, “Look, Mr. Kraft, I feel bad. I will correct what I said either when I sign with the New England Patriots or I get traded and sign somewhere else.” And he said, “But my hope and intention is that I’ll be a Patriot, I’ll go in the Patriot Hall of Fame,” and I said the same thing to him. And then there’s been a negotiation. But we have never had a deal.
And I’ll just say this: We did make offers. And we don’t normally do this, but I want our fan base to be focusing on our team and not on misreports, misperceptions that are put out there. We made an offer that would allow him to be paid very well, like a Pro Bowl guard. I’m not sure his people felt it was appropriate. I know it was comparable with [Jets lineman] Nick Mangold. And I understand there’s a back and forth, and each side has to do what they think is right for their side. And that’s part of this business. But at no time ‘ and that’s what I want to stress ‘ at no time have we ever had a deal with Logan.
The original report from Adam Schefter said you had a deal, and that the deal fell apart over this lack of public apology.
That is a bold-faced fib. We have never had a deal with Logan. We don’t discuss the details, and I’m doing this only because this is the beginning of the season. You know, we have a lot of reasons to be elated. We do business in over 80 countries in the world. When we make a commitment and we do a deal, we have the same people we’re doing business [with]. It’s word of mouth and we live up to our commitments. We’ve never had a deal here.
Are you happy that people keep talking about how much they want to play here, like Randy Moss did after the game yesterday?
Well, I think Randy Moss is one of the great players at his position in the game. I think he’s a very intelligent young man. I happen to think he’s young. I don’t think he’s old. And I’m happy he’s part of the team.
Anyhow, I wanted to come down and hopefully brighten up your day. And I really came here to speak as a fan of the New England Patriots. What went on yesterday ‘ I was elated. It was pretty cool. Our guys did well in all three sections of the game.
What do you make of those comments, Moss talking about your relationship and how he wants to be here in the future and he doesn’t have a contract?
I feel I have a good relationship with Randy. I think that’s what he basically said. I think we’re glad to have him part of this team. I consider him a very intelligent young man and I’m happy he’s with us.