NEW ORLEANS -- One of the NFL's leading voices will not attend the owners meetings.
The New England Patriots have announced owner Robert Kraft will not make the trip to New Orleans because of a "private family medical matter." His son and team president Jonathan Kraft still was expected to arrive Sunday night.
As outlined earlier, Robert Kraft sits on five league committees, including the management council, which is steering labor strategy.
Kraft also missed the recent labor mediation sessions in Washington, D.C., because of a previously scheduled business trip to Israel with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Unsigned Patriots left tackle Matt Light expressed his displeasure with Kraft's lack of attendance in D.C.
"No doubt, 100 percent. I'm not going to lie to you," Light told Boston Globe reporter Shalise Manza Young. "Look, again, like [former Patriots linebacker and NFL Players Association executive committee member Mike] Vrabel stated, like everyone else has said, we had people in that room that could get a deal done at any point. Do I know how they’re structured within the league? No, I have no clue.
"But I can tell you one thing: [NFL negotiators] didn't seem to have the ability to do any of that when they had to the leave the room, make a phone call, you guys representing the league. If it was me, I was in that model, I would have every one of my guys in those seats making sure that we had one voice and we could get a deal done."