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NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith questions independence of Wells Report 05.22.15 at 3:08 pm ET
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NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith came out against the Wells Report Friday. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

NFLPA chief De Maurice Smith came out against the Wells Report Friday. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Speaking for the first time since the release of the Wells Report and the subsequent punishments meted out to the Patriots, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith hammered back at the league Friday afternoon, questioning whether or not Ted Wells was truly autonomous in his work.

“You can’t really have credibility just because you slap the word independent on a piece of paper,” Smith told ESPN.

He added: “I think the Wells Report delivered exactly what the client wanted.”

Smith also noted some of the inconsistencies in the report, saying that one part of the document credits the memory of referee Walt Anderson, while another section questioned Anderson’s recollection. He also took issue with the way it was written.

“The first thing that jumps out at you about the report is how negotiated the language is,” he said.

Smith said he does not know if there is some sort of agreement in place between commissioner Roger Goodell and Patriots owner Bob Kraft that included Kraft dropping his fight against in the league in exchange for Goodell reducing or eliminating the suspension of Brady. While Brady’s appeal is pending, a report from Pro Football Talk on Friday indicated that no date had been set for that meeting.

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Read More: Bob Kraft, Deflategate, DeMaurice Smith, roger goodell
Roger Goodell has no plans to apologize to Patriots if they’re cleared in Deflategate probe 05.01.15 at 4:05 pm ET
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Commissioner Roger Goodell talked about Deflategate with ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" on Friday morning. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Commissioner Roger Goodell talked about Deflategate with ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” on Friday morning. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Speaking with ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” Friday morning, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he has no plans to apologize to Robert Kraft and the Patriots if the investigation into “Deflategate” reveals there was no wrongdoing on New England’s part.

“Well, no, because here’s the thing — and I’ve said this to Robert and I’ve said this publicly — (that) our job is to protect the integrity of the game,” Goodell said. “If there are questions about the potential for some type of violation, it’s our obligation to go find out whether it happened.

“There are 31 other teams that want to know that the rules were followed. I hope there is nothing from this. But we didn’t make any judgment about whether there was or wasn’t — we allowed Ted Wells to do that. That’s our job, and that’s what we’re going to do. I’m not going to apologize for doing our job.”

The week before the Super Bowl, Kraft was adamant that he expected an apology from Goodell and the NFL if the Patriots were cleared as a result of the probe.

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Read More: Bob Kraft, Deflategate, roger goodell,
Peter King on M&M: ‘That’s the way Tom Brady is’ 02.26.13 at 1:28 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who broke the news about Tom Brady‘s new contract Monday, joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss the ramifications of the deal.

King said he thinks Patriots ownership initiated the discussions.

“I think it started with Bob Kraft, he and Jonathan talking, ‘It’s time to try to put a deal together to make sure that Tom Brady never leaves New England. And in addition to that, we need some cap relief.’ It was a good marriage for the Patriots, I thought,” King said.

“And Don Yee, Brady’s agent, I think deserves a lot of credit. You’ll hear a lot of agents, if you talk to them off the record, they’ll really be critical of this deal: ‘Yee got taken to the cleaners, Brady could have gotten a lot more money.’ Of course he could have. Everybody knows he could have. That’s not Brady’s goal. Brady’s goal is to walk into training camp every year — if you told Tom Brady right now that somebody would write him a check for 3 million more dollars this year or he could use that 3 million as part of a deal to go get Dwight Freeney, what would he rather have? He’ll take Freeney any day of the week, I guarantee you.

“Everybody says, ‘Oh, it isn’t really that way.’ It is that way. That’s the way Tom Brady is.”

There has been widespread speculation that part of Brady’s incentive in accepting a below-market deal was so that the team could afford to pay his friend, receiver Wes Welker.

“I don’t know if Tom has said anything to them about Welker. I wouldn’t be surprised, but I don’t know that it’s happened,” King said. “I think the Patriots are basically going to try to say to free agents, ‘Look at what Tom Brady did. If you want to be on board a team that’s going to have a chance to win the Super Bowl every year, you’re going to have to do the same.’

“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they did it with Dwight Freeney or any of the other guys in free agency — if they want to go for a big franchise receiver, a Mike Wallace. I think that’s going to be an interesting thing to watch, whether any guys they sign take a little bit below their market value because Brady did it.”

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Read More: Bob Kraft, Dwight Freney, Peter King, Ryan Mallett
Robert Kraft on D&C: ‘I like where we are’ 12.11.10 at 11:52 am ET
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Patriots owner Robert Kraft joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about the team, its future prospects, the status of Logan Mankins and his view of the labor issues in the league.

Optimism is running high around the Patriots, but Kraft has always advocated taking the long view. ‘€œI look at the glass as three quarters full,’€ he joked. ‘€œEvery year our objective is to win the division. I’€™m really excited about where we are right now. I also think back to the [2001] season where we were 5-5 after 10 games and then we won nine straight games in that 01 season and wound up winning the Super Bowl. There’€™s still a lot of things that can happen so we have to stay cool and take it one game at a time.’€

Here are more highlights from the interview:

How important was the Jets game?

The stakes were so high in terms of winning that game versus what it meant for us. If we had lost that, we would have been swept in our division series by the Jets. Our only chance at the playoffs probably would have been being a wild card. Now our fans hopefully have a chance of hosting none if not two games at Gillette. That’€™s a big, big swing. We just got to keep it going the next few weeks.

Are you optimistic about keeping Logan Mankins?

First of all, Logan, we’€™ve always known is a great player. Since he’€™s been on the team he hasn’€™t missed a game. He’€™s started every game that he’€™s been here. Him coming in the way it did it just made a statement about what he’€™s about at the core. He’€™s happy to be here. I know we’€™re very happy that he’€™s here. I hope and believe he’€™ll be here for the long term.

One thing I’€™ve learned is in business transactions if we get the media involved in adjudicating or participating in the negotiation, sometimes the facts don’€™t come out the right way. We try to do our negotiations in private. That’€™s what we’€™ll do here. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bob Kraft, Logan Mankins, NFL labor situation
Patriots recognized as one of the most valuable “sports brands” in the world 05.20.10 at 1:27 am ET
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In its latest issue, Forbes Magazine ranks the Patriots as the 10th most valuable sports team brand in the world. New England, the second-highest rated NFL team (trailing only the Cowboys) has an estimated ‘€œbrand value’€ of $156 million.

The magazine defines ‘€œbrand value’€ as ‘€œthe portion of a team’€™s overall value that is derived from its name as opposed to its market and league,’€ and used a formula where it added up revenues from sponsorships, naming rights, local media, tickets and merchandise that are not attributable to market demographics and league.

The No. 1 team is the Yankees, which have a brand value of $328 million. The legendary English soccer team Manchester United is second at $285 million and the Spanish soccer team Real Madrid is third with $240 million. (The Red Sox are ranked eighth overall with an overall brand value of $163 million.)

In placing them 10th overall, Forbes says of the Patriots, ‘€œThe Pats, who’€™ve won three Super Bowls and five conference titles under the ownership of Bob Kraft, draw the highest local TV ratings among AFC teams in the 15 largest media markets in the U.S.’€

This is not the first time Forbes has recognized the Patriots and Kraft: The franchise has consistently been in the Top 10 in the magazine’€™s annual assessment of the overall value of each NFL franchise ‘€” in 2009, they were recognized by Forbes as the third-most valuable football team (trailing only the Cowboys and Redskins) with an estimated worth of $1.361 billion.

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