Friday, February 10, 2012
Kraft on Belichick, Gronk, cap
By Mike Reiss
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft was a guest on ESPN Boston Radio with Adam Jones today, and he touched on a variety of topics -- reflecting on the season, what fan support meant to his father in a time of grieving, Wes Welker's contract negotiation, Rob Gronkowski's post-Super Bowl dancing at a party, the team's salary cap status, and if he views coach Bill Belichick's tenure as ending any time soon.
Kraft was asked if he envisions a scenario in which Belichick could stop coaching in the immediate future.
"I watch Bill pretty closely, I work with him, and he appears as energized and passionate about his job today as he was 12 years ago when he walked in the door of the old Foxboro Stadium," Kraft said. "I think it energizes him at a higher level. I think he really, really enjoys what he does and he's good at it. I wouldn't assume it's going to end any time soon."
On Gronkowski, Kraft said he hasn't seen the video from the post-Super Bowl party.
"One thing I do know is the guy, absolutely, is 100 percent a passionate, passionate competitor when it comes to football," he said. "He loves football. He wants to win. He wants to get better. He doesn't like losing. I don't know specifically that people are questioning that, but he's an ultimate competitor and we're excited he's on our football team. I think the team did accomplish a lot this year. Unfortunately we fell just a little bit short of the ultimate goal. I do think that he and other players probably have different ways of both celebrating what we were able to achieve and dealing with the disappointment of the night, and I think it's hard to personalize how any individual would deal with that and project it on someone else."
As for the salary cap in 2012, Kraft painted an optimistic picture.
"I think we're in pretty good shape," he said. "Strategically, over the last 18 years of this system, we've tried to always leave ourselves in a position where we've had the flexibility in the room to do what we thought was in the team's long-term best interests, and not be forced by deals that we did -- thinking short-term -- that then put us in a position to do what we think is right, where we have our hands tied. It's a fine line to walk."