Jonathan Kraft on Talib trade

November, 11, 2012
11/11/12
12:55
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots president Jonathan Kraft was a guest on the 98.5 Sports Hub pre-game radio show on Sunday as part of his regular “owner’s box” segment, and it marked the first chance for us to hear ownership’s comments on the Aqib Talib acquisition.

Kraft was interviewed by Gary Tanguay and Andy Gresh, and the first question noted all the media-based chatter about the “Patriot Way” and how the team received some criticism with Talib because of his off-field transgressions.

“The football side of the operation, as everybody knows, is Bill’s areas of responsibility and I think he’s earned he right to have a fair amount of autonomy in making decisions like the one referenced, where the organization isn’t risking huge amounts of our assets – money over the long term, high draft picks – [on players] he believes can help the football team,” Kraft said.

“If that person, when here, violates the code of standard about how they’re supposed to carry themselves, they won’t be here for very long. I remember when Corey Dillon came, the outrage was that much greater. But Bill saw Corey was a competitor who wanted to win and be part of an organization where he would have a chance to go to the playoffs and win. That worked. There are other cases where it worked, and other cases with players with histories where it didn’t work on the field, but [nothing happened] off the field to embarrass the organization. When and if that happened with anybody, they won’t be here very long. Bill would support that too.

“Bill thought the defensive backfield needed a little more depth, and this player, [more than others available], gave us the best opportunity to win.”

Kraft was asked a follow-up question and discussed Gresh’s words that a player gets a “first chance, last chance” type of situation.

“Players know when they come in here what is expected of them. We did it with Randy [Moss], we did it with Corey [Dillon], we did it with others. Aqib is suspended for one more week [until Nov. 12], but I think it’s safe to assume he’ll understand what’s expected when he walks into this locker room. He won’t just hear it from Bill, and us, but I think the veteran players will tell him what it means to be a Patriot. My guess is that he will listen and respect that.

“Bill has a unique and keen sense to look at veteran players in the league and pick out guys who burn competitively and want to win, [players] who aren’t just great athletes but have a passion for the game and love it.”

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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