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Patriots owner Robert Kraft issues statement in wake of death of Frank Gifford 08.09.15 at 8:46 pm ET
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Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued a statement Sunday night following the passing of NFL legend Frank Gifford.

“In the 1950s, a decade before the origin of the Boston Patriots, New England football fans predominantly rooted for the New York Giants. Partly due to proximity. Partly due to Frank Gifford. For more than a decade, he was one of the most dynamic players on one of the most successful teams. He was a handsome, All-American boy whose All-Pro success on the field made him one of the most popular and iconic players in the NFL and earned him entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His contributions to the NFL continued long after his playing days, as many will remember him for his analysis of games on Monday Night Football. I had the opportunity to meet Frank many times after I bought the Patriots and I always valued his counsel and advice. I was a fan of Frank Gifford’€™s during his playing days, but grew to be an even bigger fan long after his playing career had ended. I am deeply saddened by his loss. My thoughts and prayers are with Kathie Lee and the entire Gifford family, as well as all those who are mourning his loss today.”

Read More: Frank Gifford, Robert Kraft,
Willie McGinest signs 1-day contract, ‘retires’ as a Patriot 08.05.15 at 7:33 pm ET
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FOXBORO — There were many highlights and surprises for Willie McGinest on Wednesday as his enshrinement to the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Perhaps the one that meant the most was a piece of paper he signed with owner Robert Kraft looking on. It was a one-day contract to right the wrong of McGinest ending his playing career with the Cleveland Browns.

“Before you go into the Patriots Hall of Fame, would you do me the honor of returning to the family? As my first-born in the NFL, I want you to be the first that we offer a ceremonial contract so that you can return home and officially go into the Patriots Hall of Fame as a New England Patriot.”

“Before I sign, How much?” McGinest said with a smile.

“Not enough,” Kraft replied. “He never changed.”

There was a great deal of irony, symbolism and closure to the first-time gesture by the Kraft family.

Bill Belichick admitted during his surprise speech after McGinest’s acceptance address that “You would’ve been a Brown but Bill [Parcells] beat me to it.”

That was a reference to the fact that McGinest’s New England career began as a fourth overall pick of the 1994 draft, the first of the Kraft ownership. Kraft’s head coach Bill Parcells was the Patriots head coach while Belichick was entering his fourth as Cleveland’s head coach. The two teams would square off that year in the playoffs, with the Browns and Belichick prevailing.

The assumption by McGinest in ’94, coming out as an All-American defensive end/linebacker for John Robinson at USC, was that the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones were going to be the ones to draft him.

“I was in a room waiting and then I heard the news that New England drafted me,” McGinest said. “I’m going to play in another country. How is that going to work?”

After 12 seasons with the Patriots, McGinest signed in 2006 with the Browns and finished his career there in 2008.

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, Super Bowl XXXVIII
Adam Schefter on D&C: Robert Kraft’s words ‘carry a message’ as league office knows he’s ‘not happy’ 07.30.15 at 9:05 am ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about the latest with Tom Brady and what Robert Kraft’s statement meant Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The biggest story from Wednesday was Robert Kraft coming out swinging against the league and Roger Goodell with the way the Deflategate case has been handled. Schefter said it would have been tough for Kraft to take this to court and go against the league, which is likely why back in May he accepted the penalties against the team.

Schefter said Kraft’s message is loud and clear now.

“I think part of the reason he didn’t go to court before and part of the reason why he accepted his punishment was because he had a lack of recourse at that point in time,” Schefter said. “It was not a CBA that protected him. There was not something that said he could take this to court. It’s not what you want to do in any particular case, maybe you succeed, maybe you prevail, maybe you don’t. You bloody your partner. Not worth it to him at that point in time. Not with the relationship that he had there. He fell on his sword there.

“Now, I think his words carry a message. The people in New York know he’s not happy. I think there’s a lot on the line here. Somebody in the end here is going to look very bad. Even if the NFL wins this court case, they still lose because they’ve basically beaten up their favorite son (Tom Brady), their poster child. When the poster child of the sport has just got abused here the last six months. Even if you win in court, what do you win there by doing that to a guy who you’ve alienated from the league for the rest of his life. … Come to the Super Bowl, make an appearance — that’s never happening again.”

Schefter said the whole thing has been botched from the start.

“Here’s the amazing part, this was not some regional game like New England-Jacksonville. This is the AFC championship game where the league has 30 representatives in New England for the game,” he said. “The day before you can call New England and say look, ‘We’ve got complaints about this. We want to let you know that we’re going to be checking and monitoring this. If there’s any funny business, there’s going to be a steep price to pay.’ That didn’t happen. That goes to my initial point. This little brush fire, we allowed this to burn down the whole house.”

“This whole thing that was a little brush fire, has been allowed to turn into an inferno,” he added. “This whole inconsequential situation about air pressure has dominated news headlines for months. It’s staggering to me that his could happen. That people allowed this to happen.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more visit, weei.com/patriots.

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Read More: adam schefter, Deflategate, Robert Kraft, Tom Brady
Matthew Slater calls Tom Brady ‘heartbeat’ of Patriots 07.29.15 at 2:02 pm ET
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Matthew Slater speaks to reports Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Matthew Slater speaks to reports Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — To Matthew Slater, blood runs thicker than water, and in the case of Deflategate and Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback is family.

On Wednesday, the special teams captain made it clear how much he supports the signal-caller he’s known since he was drafted out of UCLA in 2008.

“I think it’s safe to say that Tom is the heartbeat of this team,” Slater said. “He’s been here longer than any player. He set the standard. He’s earned everything he’s accomplished in this league. You respect the way he approaches his craft. With that, you have 89 other guys that try to do the same thing and really try to buy into what we’re doing here. We realize that we have to work hard in order for us to have success. Nobody is going to give us anything. Nobody cares what we did last year. It’s all about taking it year to year and I think Tom is a great example of that.

“All of us in here are part of a family. We come from a family and the guys in this locker room, we feel as those we’re family in there. Good or bad, things happen in life and you stick with your family, no matter what the outcome. I think that’s the way we’re going to approach it.”

Slater also threw his complete support behind the comments from team owner Robert Kraft and appreciated the owner speaking up hours earlier, taking some of the heat off players and coaches.

“Look, Mr. Kraft is the captain of this ship,” Slater said. “He’s the captain of this organization so he speaks for all of us when he speaks. I think he said everything that needed to be said.

“In the meantime, we’re just going to focus on playing football. We’re going to focus on improving ourselves through training camp and take it one day at a time.”

Read More: Deflategate, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft
Poll: Whose legacy will be negatively affected the most due to Deflategate saga? at 1:53 pm ET
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Robert Kraft, roger goodell
Mike Petraglia, Chris Price explain Robert Kraft defense, counterattack on NFL at 1:30 pm ET
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FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price explain why Patriots owner Robert Kraft came out on the offensive Wednesday and hit back at the NFL for upholding Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension. Kraft gave quarterback Tom Brady his “unequivocal” support and apologized to fans for backing down to the NFL in May at the owners meetings in San Francisco.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chris Price, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick on Tom Brady distraction in camp: ‘We won’t be dealing with that at all’ at 10:53 am ET
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FOXBORO — Robert Kraft did Bill Belichick a big favor Wednesday. He took the burden of talking about Tom Brady and Deflategate off his plate with his attack on the NFL.

Belichick opened his press conference following Kraft’s statement by saying the Patriots coaching staff is focused on preparing for the season, not Brady’s suspension or a possible showdown in court.

“I think Robert took care of the other situation. Tom had a statement so there’s nothing to really talk about there,” Belichick said. “Won’t be dealing with that at all. Just get the team ready and prepare for the regular season as we always do and as we did all spring. So, there’s no change for us on the football team.”

Belichick began his press conference by stressing his traditional approach to training camp.

“It’s good to see everyone back here. We got all the players back today for the start of training camp,” he said. “Right now, we’re in a long, step-by-step process as we head into the beginning of the 2015 season. So, we’re just going to take it one-day-at-a-time. I’d say we’ve got some preparation work to do, in terms of conditioning and going through some policies and things like that, trying to get everyone on the same page like we normally do. We’ll try to have a good day today and try to have another one tomorrow and just string them along day-by-day so that’s really where we’re at.”

Naturally, some of the over 50 reporters on hand did make several attempts to pry some type of response, with little to no success.

“We’re going to take it day-to-day, just like we always do,” Belichick said of the impact of the story. “We start training camp today. We’ll get ready for the 2015 season starting today.”

Anything to add?

“No. It’s already been addressed,” he said.

Another attempt to elicit some type of response was met with some wry humor.

“You heard what Robert just said. It’s already been addressed. Maybe you ought to go back and look at your notes. It’s already been addressed,” he said. “We’re going to continue to get the team ready for the 2015 season. That’s what we’re going to do.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft
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