|Highlights from Robert Kraft Wednesday||08.10.11 at 2:39 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Here are some highlights from what Patriots owner Robert Kraft had to say in speaking with reporters at Gillette Stadium Wednesday.
“First of all, I would like to thank you all for the tone and respect that you have given our family, and — it’s — this has been a different kind of time. Our fans have been great. We have gotten letters and people supporting us from all over the world. I am committed to read every tweet, email, letter. I have two boxes of letters that are still packed. The reach of my sweetheart is unbelievable, and I’m happy to say that as of this moment, the Myra Kraft Giving Back fund has raised over $3 million, the bulk of which has come from people we don’t know giving 10 and 20 dollar gifts. What that means is it plants the seed for her legacy of giving back to communities … and do things that are going to help this region and help people who want to volunteer and people in need for generations to come.
“So, football is back in Foxboro. You know, just looking out over this season and what is happening, first of all I want you to know that we worked very hard, and we’re proud that we have labor peace for the next 10 years. We also have a sport where we have 32 teams that are all going to be able to compete and keep this sport vibrant, and we’re going to grow this business and tie it into our communities even more. But it requires good planning, and one of the things that I’m most proud of coming into this season is we knew this was coming. We made an effort to tie up our key veterans — people like [Tom] Brady, [Stephen] Gostkowski and [Vince] Wilfork – knowing that this was coming, and now when you have this quick period that you have to react, and we were able to get a lot of seasoned veteran s on shorter term contracts. People like Albert [Haynesworth] and Chad [Ochocinco] and Andre [Carter] and Shaun Ellis – someone who’s been playing in our division for over a decade, so he knows it pretty well — and as you look out and you look o the playoffs, at the end of this year, I think you’ll see that those teams that had stability both in terms of their coaching, their offensive and defensive coordinators and quarterback, that teams with stability have the best chance, in my opinion, of making the playoffs. It doesn’t guarantee it.
“I hope that after locking up our core veterans and bringing in these seasons veterans as I call them, and probably you’ll see our good friend Logan Mankins will be signed up soon hopefully to be a Patriot for life. That couldn’t have happened if we didn’t do our planning before we went into the lockout, so I just want you to know that that’s been done with a lot of thought and a lot of planning and we hope to have a lot of fun down here in Foxboro.”
On giving Logan Mankins a longterm extension:
“If I have a vote it will get done. The other side’s got to want it too, but it’s our desire — it’s always been our desire — but… you can’t sign everyone you want, so you need to plan, and I think we did our planning knowing the kind of environment we were coming into, and we tried to position ourselves so we had our core veterans and we could continue to sign the people we want to sign. We very much — we think that Logan is among the best there is at his position. We drafted him and we want him.”
On where he and Logan Mankins stand:
“All I know is any face-to-face discussions I’ve had [with him] or private discussions have all been positive. I just hope that he’ll be a Patriot long-term.”
On defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth:
“I met with him, and I like the guy. He didn’t come here for the money, he came here to be part of a team and win and I think in some ways improve his reputation. It’s just like a lot of meetings I have with these guys. I found him to be genuine and sincere. Now I hope he gets out on the field and does his thing.”
On Colts center Jeff Saturday:
“I’ll tell you, Jeff Saturday — the NFL and the NFL players and owners are lucky that there was a guy like Jeff Saturday in the league, because he took the role — you know, players are passing through. He took the role of the principle, and he made every negotiating session, he represented the interest of the players. The reason we don’t have double practices, which some of us might agree or disagree wit, he put so much time and effort [in] and.
“You know, I’m probably sharing something that I’m not sure I should be [sharing], but I got a letter from [Colts vice chairman] Bill Polian thanking me for what I did, he repeated Jeff’s words and I said, ‘without Jeff Saturday, there wouldn’t have been a deal’ because he really took the role of the principle and together with De Smith, showed tremendous leadership. [League commissioner] Roger Goodell had owners who act as principles. De Smith — he had a bunch of players — but really Jeff Saturday, and after him [Ravens defensive back] Domonique [Foxworth] were the key guys. His ability and perseverance — it’s hard to like the center for Peyton Manning, but I really like the guy. He’s terrific, and whoever hires him after football will be getting a great guy. He’s a solid, solid [guy]. … He is really intelligent and good. It was hard to like him, but I like him a lot.”
On how he wants his late wife to be remembered:
“I think the Boston Herald just put her on the cover and said, ‘Heart of Gold.’ … She wasn’t looking for anything. She was the real deal… I’m a very lucky guy. Very lucky. We love this community and we’re going to continue to do everything we can to build upon it and do things that would make her proud.”
On going through the coming season without Myra:
“Steve Neal just came to visit me. He was up in the office and said, ‘What are you doing to remember her?’ I said, ‘Guys are going to be wearing a patch.’ He said, ‘Wow, that’s cool, because that means we’re going to have one heck of a season, because if they have her energy and desire to win and — in a good way — kick butt where it matters, her spirit will hopefully come through. … She gave me great sons and grandkids and a lot of good friends. Just getting these letters and seeing what she did that was never known, was pretty powerful.”
On helping resolve the lockout in the final months of his wife’s life:
“That’s the one thing I did for the last four and a half months before Myra passed, and it was with her knowledge. She knew how important this game was to America, and so she gave me a pass. That was the only time I left her. We were focused in a way that was helping to do something with our team of people that is important to America. That was a good distraction, to be honest.”
On Chad Ochocinco:
“Well first of all, you’ve got to love the guy. I have people emailing me who would like to host him. I’m not sure I want the responsibility … except someone prominent here in Foxboro has offered to be his host.
“It will probably remain unsaid, but if he winds up with that person, then I’ll [say], but we don’t want any losers here.
“We have a lot of great people who have come in. I just saw Gerard Warren and Shaun Ellis and Albert and Andre Carter. We have some great young meant who have come in here and are a part of this system. I’m really exited about the season being back and getting going again.”
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