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Malcom Brown embracing ‘tough love’ from Bill Belichick 05.27.15 at 12:41 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Malcom Brown, like the rest of the 2015 Patriots rookie class, is learning fast.

He’s learning a new system. He’s learning a new way of life. And he’s learning about what Bill Belichick expects on a daily basis from his players.

Brown, the first-round (No. 32 overall) pick of the Patriots, was asked about his first impressions of Belichick Wednesday during his introductory press conference on the Gillette Stadium field.

“Great guy. He’€™s my new coach now and he shows everybody a lot of love ‘€“ tough love ‘€“ and sometimes you need that,” Brown said.

Something else that will come in handy – that Belichick will no doubt emphasize – is the value of wearing ear muffs and blinders whenever the news comes on. Blocking out distractions like Deflategate has always been a trademark of a Belichick-coached team. Brown has had the advantage of not being in tune with controversy as he is focused on doing what it takes to impress as a rookie.

“I haven’€™t really been focusing towards that,” Brown said. “I’€™m just here to work. That’€™s all I’€™ve been focusing on is getting better every day and learning the material and getting better and working hard.”

Belichick let all of his rookies know immediately after the NFL draft concluded that he expects everyone to get with the program and that their college days are over.

As for his boss’s boss, Brown was asked what was it like to walk through the offices with Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft on Wednesday for his press conference.

“It was great,” Brown beamed. “Those guys are at the top of the food chain. It’€™s great being around those guys. They sign my paycheck. It’€™s fun when you have somebody that’€™s like that, not just stuck up in an office and won’€™t to talk to you. They’€™re guys that will just sit there and talk to you.”

Despite coming in as a first round pick, Brown also made a point Wednesday that his mind isn’t on replacing Vince Wilfork but rather just working to earn his way onto the roster.

“I haven’€™t really thought about replacing anyone,” Brown said. “I’€™m just here to work. I can’€™t stress that enough, just compete every day and work because nothing is given to you.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Jonathan Kraft, Malcom Brown, New England Patriots
How Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick turned Willie McGinest into a great player 05.26.15 at 5:53 pm ET
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Willie McGinest (right) congratulates Bill Belichick after Super Bowl XLIX. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Willie McGinest (right) congratulates Bill Belichick after Super Bowl XLIX. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

To think Willie McGinest almost never came to the Patriots.

As he was elected to the team’s hall of fame Tuesday, one of the greatest defensive players in franchise history took a look back on that fateful day in the 1994 NFL draft when Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones almost moved up to the No. 4 spot and drafted the stud defensive end/linebacker out of Southern Cal.

As it turned out, the Cowboys couldn’t sweeten the pot enough for Patriots coach Bill Parcells and the organization to make it worth their while. The Patriots drafted McGinest and the rest is history.

“It’s a funny situation because Parcells never really called me or kept in touch. I had one visit and I thought I was going to Dallas just because of the all representatives I had in the room and what was about to take place,” McGinest recalled on conference call. “They were going to trade [Alvin Harper] and move up and I happened to be in New England. I really didn’t watch a lot of New England football. The only way I knew about it was because Drew got drafted No. 1 overall the year before. We’re in the same draft class. It all worked out pretty well.”

In Parcells, Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick, McGinest had the privilege of playing for three head coaches in New England who have won a remarkable seven Super Bowl titles while going to another four. He spoke at length about all three Tuesday, paying particular respect to Parcells and Belichick.

“Parcells is a different animal, of course,” McGinest said. “But his knowledge of the game at every position, what he expects out of every player, how he pushes you. I had coaches with his mentality and his demeanor growing up as a kid so it didn’t bother me at all. I was actually attracted to his style as well as Bill Belichick’s style. You can’t have thin skin but the one thing that he does is he prepares you, he teaches you and he expects a lot out of you. You have some success, but to get his approval you have to have consistent success. That’s why he’s won Super Bowls, he’s in the Hall of Fame and I think Bill Belichick carried some of those same traits as a head coach.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, New England Patriots, Patriots Hall of Fame
Bill Polian on MFB: Robert Kraft has ‘always been the NFL’s leading citizen’ 05.22.15 at 12:20 pm ET
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ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian, a frequent critic of the Patriots, joined the Middays with MFB crew on Friday to discuss Deflategate and how the Patriots are perceived around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Polian, a former longtime Colts executive, had high praise for Robert Kraft, who this week announced the Patriots would not appeal their punishment for Deflategate.

“I think it’s just typical of Mr. Kraft. He’s always been the NFL’s leading citizen. He’s a leader in every way. He’s a guy who thinks about the league first, last and always,” Polian said. “Anybody else you might be a little bit surprised by the reaction, but knowing Mr. Kraft, I’m not surprised at all. He did what was best for the league rather than his own franchise.”

As for speculation that Kraft gave in to other owners, Polian said that’s unlikely due to the Patriots owner’s standing.

“No, I don’t think so. He’s one of the leading owners in the league. There’s no one going to pressure him,” Polian said. “The bottom line is he looked at the issues and recognized that while he probably would have liked things to turn out better for the Patriots in the long run, what’s important for the league is what ultimately counts. That attitude was called ‘league think,’ that phrase created, at least to my knowledge, by Pete Rozelle. And Mr. Kraft follows it to the letter.”

Polian said the issue is not about what did or did not happen, but whether the commissioner has the right to do what he did.

“It wasn’t about the argument,” Polian said. “At this point it isn’t about the Patriots or Tom Brady, even. It’s about the commissioner’s right to handle unilaterally — and in conjunction with the rights given him in the collective bargaining agreement since 1968, and tradition dating all the way back to the Black Sox in 1919, with Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner of baseball. The commissioner has the right to handle the integrity of the game. It is his responsibility. And that responsibility extends not only to the owners and players and coaches and general managers and staff people, but to the fans as well. Because if the integrity of the game is called into question in any way, it affects the overall health of the game and standing of the game in society.

“So to take that from the commissioner is an absolutely bad precedent. And of course Round 2 of that takes place in Tom Brady‘s grievance hearing. But the fact that Mr. Kraft went ahead and accepted the commissioner’s decision is in line with the longstanding tradition of the league and is what is best for the league in the long run.”

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Read More: Bill Polian, Robert Kraft, roger goodell, Tom Brady
Robert Kraft: ‘I’m always trying to look out for our team’s best interests’ 05.21.15 at 8:46 am ET
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Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft

Prior to leaving the NFL’s owners meetings in San Fransisco Wednesday evening, Patriots owner Robert Kraft had a few words for reporters, a day after he said he would “reluctantly accept” the penalties handed down to the team for their role in Deflategate.

“I only care about our fans,” said Kraft to reporters. “I did my part to be a good partner, I think. The most important thing to me is that the fans of the New England Patriots know that I’m always trying to look out for our team’s best interests now. I think this was in the best long-term interest of the team.”

The Patriots were fined $1 million and lost two draft picks — a first rounder in 2016 and a fourth rounder in 2017. Tom Brady and the NFLPA will still go ahead with their appeal of his four-game suspension.

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Read More: Deflategate, Robert Kraft,
Mike Florio on D&C: Robert Kraft ‘not going to fold the tents simply in exchange for nothing’ 05.20.15 at 10:16 am ET
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Mike Florio

Mike Florio’s Mike Florio checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday morning to discuss why Robert Kraft ended the Patriots’ fight against the NFL over Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Kraft held a press conference Tuesday from the owners meetings in San Francisco and stunned Patriots fans by announcing he would accept the league’s penalties in an attempt to move past the controversy. Florio said he agrees with the widespread speculation that Kraft struck a deal with Goodell, although he’s not sure what it might entail.

“Whether it’s just for future considerations, whether it’s for a Super Bowl in Foxboro at some point in the next decade, whether it’s a wink/nod, ‘Don’t breathe a word of it to anybody but maybe Roger Goodell’s going to reduce Tom Brady‘s suspension’ type of a promise, there’s got to be something. Because you don’t pivot that quickly.

“Robert Kraft said yesterday you measure nine times and you cut once, and that same mindset applied when they issued the 20,000-word manifesto just six days ago, the 50-minute angry interview with Peter King. These are things that even though emotional on the surface were not the product of anything but careful and deliberate thought. Strategy went into both of those two things, and strategy went into what we saw yesterday. He’s not going to fold the tents simply in exchange for nothing.”

Added Florio: “Logic, common sense, you start piecing it together — OK, there was the report of the talks [between Kraft and Goodell], they had been talking, they’re working something out, and the Patriots’ aspect of it is we’re going to take our medicine and go home. Now the return on that bargain comes down the road. We just don’t know what it is. And they’re never going to tell us what it is. For all the leaks that we’ve seen in this case, I don’t think anybody’s going to come out and say what it was, especially because there may be only two people on the earth who know — Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell.”

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Read More: Deflategate, Mike Florio, Robert Kraft, roger goodell
Poll: Do you agree with Robert Kraft accepting Patriots’ penalties for Deflategate? 05.19.15 at 2:09 pm ET
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With Robert Kraft accepting the penalties against the Patriots for their role in Deflategate, the simple question is, do you agree with Kraft’s decision?

Do you agree with Robert Kraft accepting the Patriots' penalties for Deflategate?

  • No (87%, 5,202 Votes)
  • Yes (13%, 783 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,985

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Read More: Deflategate, Robert Kraft,
Transcript of Robert Kraft’s statement accepting Patriots’ penalties for Deflategate at 1:45 pm ET
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At the NFL owners meetings in San Francisco, Robert Kraft spoke for roughly five minutes before announcing the team will accept its penalties (two draft picks and $1 million fine) for its role in Deflategate.

Here is the complete transcript of Kraft’s statement:

It’s been an emotionally charged couple of weeks, as all of you know, and I’ve been considering what my options are. And throughout this whole process, there have been two polarizing audiences. At one end of the spectrum, we’ve had Patriots fans throughout the country, who have been so supportive and really inspirational to us, and believing in us. But I’m also mindful at the other of the spectrum, there are fans that feel just the opposite. What I’ve learned is the ongoing rhetoric continues to galvanize both camps. And I don’t see that changing. They will never agree.

But the one thing that we all can agree upon is the entire process has taken way too long. And I don’t think anyone can believe that after four months of the AFC championship game, we are still talking about air pressure and the psi in footballs.

So I think I made it clear when the report came out that I didn’t think it was fair. There was no hard evidence and everything was circumstantial, and at the same time, when the discipline came out, I felt it was way over the top, as it was unreasonable and unprecedented in my opinion.

So I have two options. I can try to end it, or extend it. And I have given a lot of thought to both options. The first thing that came to mind is 21 years ago, I had the privilege of going to a meeting similar to what we’re at here, in Orlando, and being welcomed in an NFL owner’s meeting. So here’s a fan and former season ticket holder, living a dream and being welcomed in that room. And I got goosebumps that day. And I vowed at that time that I would do everything I could do to make the New England Patriots an elite team, and hopefully respected throughout the country, and at the same time, do whatever I could do to help the NFL become the most popular sport in America.

What I’ve learned over the last two decades is that the heart and soul of the strength of the NFL is the partnership of 32 teams. What’s become very clear over those two decades is that at no time should the agenda of one team outweigh the collective good of the full 32. So I have way of looking at problems that are very strong in my mind and before I make the final decision, I measure nine times and I cut once.

And I think maybe if had made the decision last week it would be different than it is today. But believing in the strength of the partnership and the 32 teams, we have concentrated the power of adjudication of problems in the office of the commissioner. And although I might disagree with what is decided, I do have respect for the commissioner and believe that he’s doing what he perceives to be in the best interests of the full 32.

So in that spirit, I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric. And we won’t appeal.

Now I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision, but I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans, and the NFL. And I hope you all can respect that.

You know, I would normally take questions, but my desire is truly not to continue the rhetoric. So I’m going to leave this discussion exactly here. Thank you very much.

Read More: Deflategate, Robert Kraft,
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