AFC East: Robert Kraft

Kraft on another title: 'We want it real bad'

July, 25, 2014
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video New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft appeared on the ESPN "SportsCenter" set this morning in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and spoke with anchor Hannah Storm and analyst Tedy Bruschi about a number of topics.

On the start of training camp. "You feel reborn. ... It's great to see football back."

On the team's upgraded football facilities. "We've invested over $25 million to try to get our facilities top-notch. In this business, if you aren't always pushing -- whether it's in the area of developing software or getting the right free agents or doing all the little things that can help, hopefully, put you in a good position to try to win. It's so hard, as you know.

"I probably speak for every owner in the league that this time of year we're all excited. We think the sky's the limit. We've made our offseason moves. We've had our draft. It's 0-0 wins and losses. So optimistic."

It's going on 10 years now since the Patriots last won a Super Bowl. Does he get impatient? "Absolutely. Especially as the years start creeping up and you realize how delicate everything is. Look at last year: We thought we had a great team and then Vince [Wilfork] goes down in Week 4 and Tommy Kelly in Week 5 and Jerod Mayo in Week 6. So that solid defense … that's the beauty of this game, no one knows what's going to happen.

"We want it real bad. In the end, like everything in life, it is about execution. You have to make it happen, and you also need good fortune not to have injuries and then have the ball bounce right."

On the importance of the NFL putting a team (or teams) in Los Angeles. "I think we've gone almost a generation, almost 20 years I think, without a team in L.A. … It isn't good for the NFL. We have a generation of young people growing up not really branded or tied to a team. I think that kind of passion only comes when you have a team you can root for. I think it's very important. I'd like to see us get two teams in L.A., personally ... then we have the AFC and the NFC."

Kraft talks more about Los Angeles in the video above, saying he would love to see a team come to the city within the next two to three years.

Belichick: Should verify with Vince

March, 25, 2014
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- When a reporter asked Bill Belichick about defensive tackle Vince Wilfork's request to be released, this was Belichick's response at Tuesday's AFC coaches breakfast:

"You need to talk to him about any of those statements, which I think you should verify first."

Wilfork
Earlier in the breakfast, Belichick had been asked about the "contentious" situation with Wilfork and said, "I don't really know the nature of your question, maybe that's something you have to talk to Vince about."

Belichick's remarks came one day after owner Robert Kraft said, "I very much hope we get it done, and I believe [Vince] very much would like to do it as well."

These comments have stood out to me over the past 24 hours.

Belichick's, in particular, seems to call into question the context and/or accuracy of Wilfork's reported request to be released, or perhaps Belichick is simply focusing on the present snapshot, which has shifted from two weeks ago.

There was a point Tuesday morning when Belichick was asked specifically if Wilfork had requested his release, and the coach said he wouldn't get into specifics on any players.

The big takeaway from all of this?

It's clear the sides are working through a complicated contractual issue, and in light of that, Wilfork's future with the franchise still hangs in the sensitive balance.

But remarks from Belichick and Kraft paint a picture of a situation that isn't as contentious as it might seem to be from a public perception standpoint.

How that affects the endgame still remains to be seen.

Exploring Michael Sam and Patriots fit

February, 10, 2014
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With Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announcing publicly Sunday that he was gay, putting him in position to become the first openly active gay player in NFL history, the thought probably crossed the mind of many team-based reporters:

Could you envision a scenario in which Sam lands on the team you cover?

Here are some of my Patriots-based thoughts:

1. It’s about winning: If Bill Belichick thought Sam could help the Patriots win, and he represented the oft-stated “value pick” when he was available, I don’t think he’d hesitate to draft him or sign him after the draft.

2. Something Kraft would root for: Owner Robert Kraft doesn’t make X’s and O’s football decisions, deferring to Belichick, whose track record speaks for itself. But if all things were equal, I think adding Sam is something Kraft would root for because of the inclusive message it would send by his franchise. I think that would mean a lot to Kraft, who takes pride in the Patriots being a “pillar in the community.”

3. Locker-room culture: As an anonymous scout mentioned in Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” piece on TheMMQB.com, the Patriots have the type of culture -- with strong leadership at the top with Belichick and in the locker room -- where the hubbub that is sure to follow Sam would be quickly extinguished. Former Patriots receiver Donte’ Stallworth made a similar point on Twitter. There are countless examples of situations that were supposed to be distractions (e.g. Aaron Hernandez's murder charge, Tim Tebow's signing etc.) that turned out to be anything but distractions because it’s about football, first and foremost, in New England. For that to work, the player(s) and team have to be working off the same script.

4. Sam’s football fit in New England: Sam is an undersized defensive end by NFL standards (6-foot-1 5/8, 260 pounds) and those players usually don’t carry as high of a draft grade with the Patriots, who have generally preferred their end-of-the-line players to be in the 6-foot-5 and 255-pound range (similar to 2012 first-round pick Chandler Jones). So purely from a height-weight-role standpoint, I don’t see the perfect football fit with the Patriots based on the team’s drafting history. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen, as one possible comparable is 2003 Patriots seventh-round draft choice Tully Banta-Cain, who was in that same type of “tweener” category of 4-3 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebacker. Banta-Cain developed into an effective pass-rusher for the team, and every club is looking for disruptive pass-rushers.

Kraft: 'Loading up' strategy not for me

January, 31, 2014
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Following his chat with reporters at the Super Bowl, Patriots owner Robert Kraft visited with the “Felger and Mazz” show on Boston sports radio 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday afternoon, and answered a question that's been on the minds of New England fans ever since the loss to the Broncos in the AFC title game: With Tom Brady's window closing, does Kraft feel any urgency to “load up” in the next couple of seasons to give the team its best chance to win another title while his Hall of Fame quarterback is still in his prime?

Kraft was sympathetic to that opinion, considering the Patriots' last Super Bowl victory was nearly a decade ago, but his stance was clear. His Patriots team has reached at least the conference title game in nine of his 20 years as owner, so why change strategies now?

“We're trying to manage our resources as wisely as we can and be as aggressive as we can, but make sure every year we are putting ourselves in a position to win,” he said.

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In other words, sacrificing future success for a potentially better chance in the short term is not how he prefers to build an NFL team. There are just too many variables out of his control, injuries being the most significant.

“There's so many things that happen. I don't ever believe in selling your soul for a bowl of [porridge],” Kraft said. “We want to be in the running and do whatever we can to be the best we can be.“

Show co-host Mike Felger cited the 2012 Baltimore Ravens as a team that loaded up and went on to win the Super Bowl.

“Let's talk about that for a minute,” Kraft responded. “Baltimore beat us in the [AFC] Championship Game last year and won the Super Bowl. What happened to them this year? Did they make the playoffs?”

For the record, the Ravens finished 8-8 in 2013 and out of the playoffs.

Kraft was asked: But don't you want another championship?

“Nothing is more important to me personally than winning as many championships as we can win while the good Lord lets me be on this planet,” he said.

So isn't it worth giving up a little in the future to give the team the best chance at one more title?

“You can load up and do whatever you want and you don't know what's going to happen,” Kraft said. “There are things happening way beyond your control. There are injuries that happen. God forbid anyone on our team get injured.

“When we started the season, we had some offensive weapons that were pretty powerful and defensive weapons. And look what happened -- less than half the season in, we probably lost five or six of the top players on our roster.

“I think a better strategy [than loading up] is to try to be solid and be able to compete year in and year out.”

In an interview with a group of reporters earlier, Kraft said he'd like to see the team re-sign key free agents Aqib Talib and Julian Edelman. On the radio show, Kraft said he'd like to see the Patriots sign as many of the team's free agents as possible, but acknowledged the realities of the salary cap.

“It's not like we have unlimited funding,” Kraft said. “[Talib] wasn't on the field a lot of the time since he's been with us. It's a balance, of us balancing all that out and what is he worth. I think he's happy here and would like to be here. We're happy with him and we'd like to have him here. Now it's just about doing business, and that's our intent.”

The Patriots' salary-cap situation for 2014 is a bit of a moving target because the NFL has yet to set the actual cap (projections have it ranging from $123 million to $128 million). We know the Patriots have $128 million committed to their cap for 2014, but they will get a $4.1 million credit because that is the amount they are rolling over from 2013.

Unless they make some cuts or do some restructuring, they don't presently have a lot of wiggle room.

“We have to try to sustain success by managing as wisely as we can. That's not dependent on any one player because no one knows what's going to happen,” Kraft said. “We are always spending to the cap. Because certain incentives might not come in, if we don't spend to the cap we're going to carry it over and we're going maximize the dollars we are able to spend. It's the matter of how you commit them that really counts.”

Roster depth, he said, is as important as anything due to the unpredictability of injuries. He cited the three defensive linemen who were undrafted free agents who ended up playing key roles toward the end of the season.

“The bottom third of your roster is so important. We'll have to go through a lot of soul-searching over the next few months and come up with the best solution,” he said.

Sound bites from Robert Kraft at Bowl

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will hold his “state of the NFL” news conference on Friday, which is usually attended by most team owners. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is in attendance and expected address reporters later in the day.

This morning, Kraft was a guest on “CBS This Morning” and CNBC’s “Squawk Box”, and one of the common threads in the interviews is that Kraft is a big proponent of a cold-weather Super Bowl.

Here were some of the sound bites from Kraft:

Kraft
Kraft
Looking ahead to the Patriots’ 2014 season (CNBC): “The good news is, I believe we’re the third youngest team in the NFL. People don’t realize that. We have a great young crop of players, and we’re still privileged to have Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo -- core veterans. I think we have the best coach and best quarterback in the NFL.”

On quarterback Brady, who turns 37 in August, and his current standing (CNBC): “I’ll just tell you, all week this week, he’s been in the stadium, working with our offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to see what they can do to improve. There is a great focus.”

On an NFL franchise potentially located in London (CBS): “We have three games there; [I think] they’re sold out next year. We’ve played there a couple times. I think that’s a great place. I really believe that before the decade is out we’ll have a team there.”

On the Thursday night broadcast package out for bid (CBS): “We have a Thursday night package that’s in the bidding process now, and you talk about the great interest of football, the interest in our Thursday night package from all our broadcast partners is tremendous. We are the only way to get a mass audience watching, as you will see this Sunday. I would hope the next few weeks we’ll choose the right partner.”

What the Brady vs. Peyton Manning rivalry has meant for football (CBS): “It’s wonderful. We’re going to play them again next year, and it might be the last time the two of them -- the two greatest quarterbacks in the modern era are on the field [together]. They have great respect for one another. They’ve played 15 times, and my guy Tommy has won 10 of them. Not that we’re competitive [panel laughter].”

Who is he rooting for in the Super Bowl (CBS): “I have people on both sides. I love Wes Welker. I’ve hired two coaches in my career, Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick, in 20 years. I get torn, but to be honest, it’s hard to root for anybody when you’re in my position. ... [Pete] is such a great guy, one of the nicest men. He’s a different profile than most of the coaches; he’s like an energetic, enthusiastic young man on the sideline. He has a great family. He’s a very special person. ... Wes Welker is also a pretty special guy.”

Kraft: Team behind Gronk's decision

October, 13, 2013
10/13/13
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was a guest on ESPN New York radio on Sunday morning, and was asked by host Mike Lupica about tight end Rob Gronkowski's potential return.

Gronkowski
Gronkowski
Here is the Q&A from that part of the interview:

Q: Has Gronkowski's relationship with the team become complicated?

Kraft: "No, well, look, he's a young man that has had a number of different operations and I just want to make clear, because I know the media has a job to do, our first concern is his health and safety and doing what's in his best interest long-term. And he's the only one who can decide when he's ready to play and we're completely behind whatever his decision is. Obviously all of us would like him to come as soon as possible, but we're not going to let our short-term desire impede what's right for the long-term."

Also, Ed Werder and the "Sunday NFL Countdown Crew" discuss the report that the absence of Gronkowski is causing resentment and tension among teammates.

Kraft 'very much wanted' Tebow with Pats

September, 3, 2013
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Patriots owner Robert Kraft, appearing on CBS's "This Morning" on Tuesday, said he wanted Tim Tebow to make the Patriots roster and hopes he gets another shot to play quarterback with a different team.

"I love Tim Tebow and I very much wanted him on the team," Kraft said. "If you look, four of the last five years we've only carried two quarterbacks and you know when a cut-down time comes, you need those last three, four positions for depth."

The Patriots are, of course, well-stocked at quarterback, led by Tom Brady.

"And we happen to have, I think, the finest quarterback in the history of the game, so he's not going off the field except by injury," Kraft said of Brady. "We have a great second string quarterback [Ryan Mallett]."

Kraft, like Bill Belichick and Brady previously, did not shut the door on a possible Tebow return.

"We never know what's going to happen," he said. "You're one play away at all times from your whole game changing, and there's no -- I haven't met a finer young man."

Kraft believes that Tebow will find success in his off-field ventures, while remaining hopeful that he has a chance to continue his football pursuits.

"Whatever he does, I know he's going to be a great success off the field and I'm rooting for him to get his opportunity on the field as well," he said.

Asked why Tebow has had trouble finding work -- he was a free agent for nearly a month and a half after being released by the Jets in April -- Kraft noted his desire to play solely quarterback and not another position, as some have suggested might be a better fit for his skill set.

"I think he wants to be a quarterback, and who is to say he won't get his opportunity?" Kraft continued. "To have a guy like that in the locker room, the kind of person he is, the way he conducts himself."

Tebow, who cleared waivers on Sunday, is now a free agent.

Rapid Reaction: Patriots 28, Giants 20

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rapid reaction from the New England Patriots' preseason finale against the Giants, a 28-20 victory:

A night for backups and the bubble watch: Bill Belichick rested most of his first-unit players on offense and defense. The Giants, on the other hand, opened with their starters. So from a Patriots perspective, it was a chance to get a feel of which veterans are truly on the roster bubble -- safety Adrian Wilson, running back Leon Washington and tight end Daniel Fells are three near the top of the list as they played deep into this game.

Tebow plays second half: Fighting for a spot on the Patriots roster, quarterback Tim Tebow came on at the start of the second half and played the final 30 minutes of action. He finished 6-of-11 for 91 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and added 30 yards on six rushes. Things started slowly (he was sacked four times in the third quarter) before his highlight came early in the fourth quarter -- a 52-yard touchdown to rookie receiver Quentin Sims on a third-and-10 play. Tebow made a nice throw over the middle, and over-pursuit by safety Cooper Taylor allowed Sims to race the final 30 or so yards for the touchdown. But later in the quarter, Tebow was intercepted by cornerback Trumaine McBride on a long pass down the left sideline to rookie receiver Aaron Dobson that was underthrown. His final touchdown pass came with six seconds remaining, a 9-yard toss to Sims in the back-right corner of the end zone.

Offensive line getting healthy: One of the more important developments for the Patriots was the return of third-year offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, a top backup who played for the first time this preseason and played into the second half, which was important for him from a conditioning standpoint. Between Cannon's return, and starting right guard Dan Connolly playing for the second week in a row after worked his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, the line is as healthy as it's been all preseason.

No major injuries: The Patriots, who finished the preseason with a 3-1 record, didn't have any players leave the game with notable injuries. The Giants weren't as fortunate, as running back Andre Brown broke his leg, the team announced.

Welcome, Tiger Woods: Patriots owner Robert Kraft welcomed Tiger Woods as his guest for tonight's game. The two spent time on the field together before the game, then Woods watched from Kraft's owner's box. Woods is in town for the Deutsche Bank Championship. In the past, Kraft has played golf with Woods.

What's next: The team's roster must be trimmed from 75 to 53 by Saturday at 6 p.m. Then the focus entirely turns to the Sept. 8 season opener on the road against the Buffalo Bills.

The New England Patriots took the field for the first time Friday morning for training camp to kick off their 2013 season. This is a team coming off a tumultuous offseason, which includes the release of former tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft discusses the Hernandez situation on ESPN's "Mike and Mike" Friday.

 
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media for the first time following the release of Aaron Hernandez. New England cut the former tight end after Hernandez was charged with murder and five additional gun charges.

Here was Belichick’s opening statement Wednesday to the media:
"I’m going to address the situation involving Aaron Hernandez today. I felt that it was important enough to do that prior to the start of camp. It’s a sad day, really a sad day on so many levels. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim and I extend my sympathy really to everyone who has been impacted. A young man lost his life. His family has suffered a tragic loss and there’s no way to understate that. When I was out of the country, I learned about the ongoing criminal investigation that involved one of our players and I and other members of the organization were shocked and disappointed in what we had learned. Having someone in your organization that’s involved in a murder investigation is a terrible thing. After consultation with ownership, we acted swiftly and decisively. [Patriots owner] Robert [Kraft] and his family and I, since I got here in 2000, have always emphasized the need for our team and our players and our organization to represent the community the right away both on and off the field. We’ve worked very hard together over the past 14 years to put together a winning team that’s a pillar in the community. I agree 100 percent with the comments that Robert has already made on the situation; I stand behind those as well. This case involves an individual who happened to be a New England Patriot. We certainly do not condone unacceptable behavior and this does not in any way represent the way that the New England Patriots want to do things. As the coach of the team, I’m primarily responsible for the people that we bring into the football operation. Our players are generally highly motivated and gifted athletes. They come from very different backgrounds. They’ve met many challenges along the way and have done things to get here. Sometimes they’ve made bad or immature decisions but we try to look at every single situation on a case-by-case basis and try to do what’s best for the football team and what’s best for the franchise. Most of those decisions have worked out but some don’t. Overall, I’m proud of the hundreds of players that have come through this program but I’m personally disappointed and hurt in a situation like this. Moving forward consists of what it’s always been here: to build a winning football team, be a strong pillar in the community, be a team that our fans can be proud of. That’s what we’re here for."

This was not your typically staunch Belichick. Although guilt or innocence has yet to be determined, Belichick was genuine in his disappointment for Hernandez putting himself in this position as well as personal sorrow for the victim's family. He also admitted that the Patriots may make alterations to the way they evaluate players. That will be important for Belichick and Kraft going forward.

Belichick was wise to address the media about the Hernandez situation a couple of days before training camp. Patriots players will still face Hernandez questions this week. But both Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, the team’s top leaders, have said their part and can begin moving on from a controversial situation.

Links: Bills, Jairus Byrd remain apart

July, 9, 2013
7/09/13
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Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo News, citing a source, reports the Bills are not close to signing safety Jairus Byrd.

Rookie Kiko Alonso appears to have the edge to earn the starting spot at middle linebacker, according to the team's website.

Miami Dolphins

Dolphins linebacker Dannell Ellerbe says the Patriots are vulnerable after the free-agent loss of wide receiver Wes Welker, multiple surgeries to tight end Rob Gronkowski and the release of tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Andy Kent of Dolphins.com previews the secondary with training camp on the horizon.

New England Patriots

ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss was a guest on "Mike & Mike" Tuesday morning and he discussed his meeting with team owner Robert Kraft, Kraft's remarks regarding Hernandez's murder charge, the state of the Patriots' offense and more.

Mike Rodak continues his "Bubble watch" series with a look at running back Brandon Bolden.

New York Jets

Coach Rex Ryan came away unharmed after running with the bulls, the annual tradition in Pamplona, Spain.

Linebacker DeMario Davis checks in at No. 13 on the New York Post's countdown of the top 25 players on the Jets' roster.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft addressed reporters Monday for the first time regarding Aaron Hernandez's murder charge, saying "If this stuff is true, then I've been duped and our whole organization has been duped."

Kraft, who believed Hernandez was a "most likable young man," said the Patriots "made a mistake and are facing it head on," which includes a process in which they will "renew efforts and look at procedures."
Bill Parcells, who is a member of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, told USA Today that the one regret in his standout career was leaving the New England Patriots. According to Parcells, if he could do it all over again, he would have stayed in New England after the 1996 season and continued working for owner Robert Kraft after losing to the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl.

It's interesting to think what could have been had Parcells stayed with the Patriots longer. Here are several things to consider:
  • Would there have been a Patriots dynasty in the early 2000s? Parcells was definitely on to something in '96. In typical Parcells fashion, he turned a downtrodden New England franchise into a winner and eventual AFC champion before Parcells and Kraft stopped seeing eye to eye. That caused Parcells to split, and New England went on to hire two coaches: Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. Carroll was a decent 27-21 in three seasons in New England but could never get the team back to the big game. But things took off once Belichick was hired. Five Super Bowl appearances and three championships later, Belichick is still New England's coach in 2013. Belichick was the assistant head coach and secondary coach in New England during Parcells’ final season with the Patriots. Had Parcells stayed, Belichick might have been groomed to be the Patriots' head coach in waiting. Or another team could have called sooner and offered Belichick a head-coaching job elsewhere. Without Belichick, there would be no Patriots dynasty.
  • Would Parcells have switched from Drew Bledsoe to Tom Brady? Bledsoe was Parcells' quarterback, and the two made it to the Super Bowl together in '96. If Parcells were still coaching the team five years later, would he have had the same foresight to stick with Brady after Bledsoe got injured? Belichick made one of the gutsiest calls in NFL history in 2001 to stay with an unknown, sixth-round pick over a former Pro Bowler. The result was New England winning the first of three Super Bowl titles with Brady, who went on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Parcells had a stronger connection to Bledsoe than Belichick ever did, so the right decision would have been more difficult for Parcells to make. It's even questionable that New England would have drafted Brady in the first place if Parcells were still running the Patriots. Speaking of which ...
  • How would keeping Parcells impact New England’s drafts? One of the reasons Parcells is being inducted into the Hall of Fame is he was one of the rare people who can both coach and evaluate talent at a very high level. But the Patriots also built their dynasty through the draft with Belichick. It started at the top with Brady, the greatest value pick ever, and continued with homegrown talents such as Richard Seymour, Matt Light, Asante Samuel and Vince Wilfork. Maybe New England's rosters would have been just as stout with Parcells calling the shots. But that’s asking a lot.

Overall, things worked out best for the Patriots. They had a few slightly above-average years with Carroll, then hit a home run with Belichick, who also will someday be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

There is little doubt that Parcells would have continued his success in New England. But could he match Belichick’s five Super Bowl appearances and three titles with the Patriots? Probably not.

Robert Kraft endorses Tim Tebow

June, 13, 2013
6/13/13
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The New England Patriots made a controversial decision to sign popular quarterback Tim Tebow to a two-year contract earlier this week. It’s the kind of move that doesn’t happen unless everyone in the organization is on the same page.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who drafted Tebow three years ago with the Denver Broncos, have always spoken highly of Tebow. On Wednesday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft weighed in on the new addition.

“If you want to win in this league, you need quality depth management,” Kraft explained. “In the age of the salary cap, whenever you can get a competitive, first-grade person to join your team, you never know what happens. But for me personally, having Tim Tebow on this team, he’s someone who believes in spirituality, he’s very competitive and works hard and has a great attitude and he’s a winner.

“Having him as part of our franchise is great but he has to compete just like anyone else. We’re blessed to have a lot of people like that, but the fact that spirituality is so important to him is very appealing to me.”

At best, Tebow is New England’s No. 3 quarterback. Future Hall of Famer Tom Brady is the unquestioned starter and Ryan Mallett is a promising backup. Belichick would not shed light on what Tebow’s role with the team would be. Tebow must first make the 53-man roster in training camp.

But Tebow has the support of New England’s owner, the man who signs the checks. That’s obviously a good sign in Tebow's favor.

Kraft said he saw “two or three” of Tebow’s games in person at the University of Florida. Kraft also met Tebow during the pre-draft process and has always been impressed with the quarterback.

“I think he’s hard-working and very cooperative,” Kraft said. “I don’t think there’s any coach who wouldn’t like to have a team full of people like he is. Like Brady, he comes out there and works hard or Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo. They come in, they work hard, they prepare hard and they’re all business. You can’t get enough people like that on your team. We’re honored that he’s with us.”
To no surprise, the NFL overwhelmingly voted to eliminate the tuck rule on Wednesday. It was a bad rule that prevented quarterback fumbles if a player has any kind of forward movement with his throwing arm, which included pump fakes.

NFL owners reportedly voted 29-1 to get rid of the tuck rule. But the New England Patriots, who took advantage of the rule in the 2001-02 playoffs to jumpstart their Super Bowl dynasty, were one of two teams to abstain from voting. New England owner Robert Kraft hinted as much earlier this week and decided to follow through.

Luckily for New England, eliminating the tuck rule is not retroactive. Who knows how the course of NFL history would have changed if New England, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady did not win their first of three Super Bowls together.

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