|Robert Kraft issues statement on passing of former Patriots offensive lineman Bill Lenkaitis||08.28.16 at 2:39 pm ET|
The Patriots have issued a statement from owner Robert Kraft on passing of former New England offensive lineman Bill Lenkaitis, who played for the team from 1971-1981.
“Bill centered one of the greatest offensive lines, not just in franchise history, but in NFL history. In 1976, he helped propel the Patriots to an 11-3 record and our first NFL playoff berth. Two years later, the offensive line powered the Patriots to our first NFL division title, while setting the NFL rushing record. As a season ticket holder during his playing days, I was a fan of the player he was on the field. But, in my 22 years of ownership, I became an even bigger fan of the person he was off the field. He was a big man with an even bigger personality and a huge heart. As a Patriots alumnus, he remained active in our communities and regularly volunteered to support out Foundation’s many initiatives. He was a great Patriots ambassador and he will be missed. We extend our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and former teammates.”
|On 15th anniversary of their Super Bowl season, Patriots set to pay tribute to 2001 title team||07.26.16 at 5:19 pm ET|
The Patriots announced Tuesday they will be holding a series of events over the course of the 2016 season to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 2001 Super Bowl team.
The weekly features will run throughout the season and culminate on Dec. 4 with a special reunion of the 2001 team during a halftime ceremony of the Patriots game against the Rams at Gillette Stadium.
“The Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams was the first championship for our team and will always hold a very special place in our hearts,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft in a statement issued by the team. “The victory made everyone that ever wore a Patriots uniform or rooted for the Patriots on the bleachers at Foxboro Stadium feel proud to be a fan. I know I am looking forward to reliving some of those great memories throughout the 2016 season.”
The series of tributes will include video segments accessible via the Patriots Twitter feed and Facebook page, and will feature key stories from the 2001 season, including the Tom Brady/Drew Bledsoe quarterback debate, the infamous Snow Bowl playoff game against the Raiders and the events surrounding Super Bowl XXXVI. In addition, there will be “Where Are They Now?” segments on “Patriots All-Access” that will highlight members of that year’s team, as well as a special exhibit at the Patriots Hall of Fame.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Remember when Vladimir Putin may have swiped Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl XXXIX ring 11 years ago this week?||06.29.16 at 9:38 am ET|
As a franchise, the Patriots have had more than their share of surreal moments, but one of the strangest took place 11 years ago Tuesday.
In June 2005, Robert Kraft was part of a group of businessmen who were meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kraft apparently carried his Super Bowl XXXIX ring to the meeting, a 124-diamond piece that the Patriots commissioned in the wake of their win over the Eagles a few months before. Putin was admiring the jewelry, and one of the Kraft’s friends said, “Why don’t you show the president your ring?”
Putin was apparently very impressed, saying at one point, “I could kill someone with this.” He put it on his finger, and then, apparently pocketed it on the way out the door. It was unclear if Putin thought the ring was a gift or if he swiped it, but Kraft later issued a statement when the news of the incident leaked.
“Upon seeing the ring, President Putin, a great and knowledgeable sports fan, was clearly taken with its uniqueness. At that point, I decided to give him the ring. I have ancestors from Russia, so it added significance for me to know that something so cherished would reside at the Kremlin along with other special gifts given to Russian presidents. It was truly an act of serendipity and one that I am honored to have experienced. It touched me to see President Putin’s reaction to the ring, and I felt, emotionally, that it was the right way to conclude an exceptional meeting.”
The story has taken on new legs the last few years. After Kraft re-told the story in 2013 saying the Putin may have made off with the ring without his permission, Putin disputed the account.
“What Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN, who added that the ring is at the Kremlin’s library. “I was standing 20 centimeters away from him and Mr. Putin and saw and heard how Mr. Kraft gave this ring as a gift.”
Perhaps not wanting to make an enemy of the Russian strongman, Kraft reiterated the fact that it was, indeed, a gift. He invited Putin to a Patriots’ game to present Kraft with a ring Putin was apparently making for him.
Regardless, we’re going to presume that Kraft had another ring made, but it’s interesting to think about the possibility of a Super Bowl XXXIX ring floating around the Kremlin somewhere thanks to a “misunderstanding” between the Patriots owner and the Russian leader.
|Robert Kraft part of group that reportedly purchases UFC for roughly $4 billion||06.22.16 at 8:37 am ET|
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has reportedly been sold for approximately $4 billion to a group that includes Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
According to Flo Combat, the organization has been sold to an investment group led by the William Morris Endeavor-IMG agency, which includes The Kraft Group and a pair of Chinese-based companies.
The brainchild of Boston native Dana White, UFC has made crossover stars out of fighters like Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor, and Chuck Liddell, and reportedly grossed over $600 million last year.
White, who reportedly owns nearly 10 percent of the UFC, will stand to net more than $300 million in the sale while being granted an ownership stake and continuing with his role as president and promoter.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Report: Robert Kraft among investor group vying to buy UFC||06.16.16 at 6:14 pm ET|
Robert Kraft is already synonymous with winning in football, and apparently he wants to expand his empire to include the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
According to a report on ESPN, Kraft is part of a group attempting to buy the UFC in a deal that could top $4 billion. The report, from business reporter Darren Rovell, said that Kraft and other investors have agreed to put up $25 million to $50 million each with WME-IMG in conjunction with Dalian Wanda Group. WME is co-chaired by Ari Emanuel, reportedly the inspiration for Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold character on HBO’s Entourage.
A group of investors from China are also in the running for the wildly successful UFC, the brainchild of former Boston resident Dana White.
The UFC, which has made crossover stars out of fighters like Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor, and Chuck Liddell, reportedly grossed over $600 million last year.
Bidding is drawing to a close and could be decided on Friday, ESPN reported.
|93-year-old Ida May Molitor tells Tom Brady ‘keep up the good work… can’t do better’||06.02.16 at 2:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Ida May Molitor has seen a lot in her rich life.
On Thursday, the 93-year-old experienced something she never dreamed of, a personal 1-on-1 inspirational chat from Tom Brady after accepting one of the several Myra Kraft Community MVP awards at Gillette Stadium.
Molitor, who hails from East Falmouth, Mass., was honored for her work in the Norton Community Theatre in Norton, Mass. As a senior, she participated and encouraged participation in the theatre as a way of keeping seniors active in the community.
Brady, for his part, came out to squat down and talk with Molitor, who attended in a wheelchair.
“Yes. Wasn’t that wonderful? He wished me a lot of luck and said I did a great job at  years old,” Molitor said.
“It means a lot to me because I love the Norton Seniors [show] and this is probably the first year I haven’t been in with the show. I’m going [Friday] to see it.”
In all, 26 volunteers were recognized for their contributions at the luncheon in the Putnam Club. Each Community MVP received grants for their respective nonprofit organizations. Molitor was one of 15 New England-based winners presented with a third-place prize of a $5,000 grant for their community program. Ten others received grants of $10,000 and one grand prize winner was presented $25,000.
Her thoughts on Brady?
“I loved it,” Molitor said. “He’s a wonderful man, not only because what he does for the team but what he does with himself and other people.”
She ended her minute chat with some words of encouragement.
“Keep it up. Keep up the good work, I told him,” she related. “Can’t do better. The only other way is perfect, and let’s face it, none of us are perfect.”
FOXBORO – Robert Kraft is letting his amicus brief filing speak for itself.
Asked about his filing last week to support Tom Brady in the Deflategate saga, Kraft said he would prefer keeping the focus on the Myra Kraft Community MVP awards, which were handed out Thursday at Gillette Stadium.
“I appreciate you asking that question, and I respect it, but today we’re celebrating volunteerism,” Kraft told reporters gathered in the Putnam Club. “We always hold this right before the start of the season. We’re excited football is back, seeing these guys work out. I’m going to try to keep all of our discussions today on a high plane in the spirit of what this day is about.”
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation handed out awards to one-grand prize winner, 10 second-prize winners and 15 third-prize winners “who exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism.”
The grand-prize winner received $25,000 to go toward the non-profit organization for which he volunteers, the second-prize winners received $10,000 and the third-prize winners received $5,000.
Kraft posed with Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski and all the winners after the luncheon and ceremony.
Last week, Kraft and the Patriots filed the amicus brief in support of their quarterback and the NFL Players Association against the NFL.
Asked if he believes everything will eventually work out and be OK for Brady and the team, Kraft answered with a hopeful tone.
“Things working out to me means we make the playoffs,” Kraft said. “And then hopefully we take the next step to do what we all would like to see happen here. I think we have a great — when you go through the locker room, you get a feel of what’s going on. I think the new people that have come in are pretty special. There’s a great chemistry in the locker room. People have worked very hard in the offseason training program. We’re very excited to have football back. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
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