Friday, September 10, 2010
Robert Kraft: 'We're very, very lucky'
By Mike Reiss ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- His four-year, $72 million contract extension officially signed, quarterback Tom Brady visited with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and president Jonathan Kraft on Friday and recounted the scare he received in a Thursday morning car accident.
"He was saying how the thump he took was not unlike getting hit on the field here," Kraft said in a phone interview with ESPNBoston.com. "He arched and prepared himself and we're just lucky with the glass and angles. We have a lot to be thankful for. It was really a miracle."
Robert Kraft said Tom Brady's new deal preserves the special relationship between the quarterback and the team.
Kraft's initial concern for Brady on Thursday ultimately led to relief, and later, Brady's contract becoming official.
"We have a saying that out of bad things good things can happen if managed properly. It put in perspective everything we're doing," Kraft said. "We're very, very lucky. Patriot Nation is lucky he had his seatbelt on."
Kraft said his and the team's thoughts are now with 21-year-old Ludgero Rodrigues, who according to a police report was driving the van that struck Brady's car, as well as the 49-year-old passenger who was hospitalized.
Authorities are backing off claims that Rodrigues had previously been arrested for driving under the influence. A spokesman for Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter told the Boston Globe on Friday that someone else had impersonated Rodrigues when he was arrested last year. Prosecutors dropped charges against the 21-year-old after he convinced authorities that he was not the person they detained last year.
As for the contract agreement with Brady, Kraft was predictably thrilled about striking such an important deal.
"We're really excited that we have one of the finest players playing the game at the helm of our team for the next five playing seasons," he said. "It's sort of a continuation of a cycle. We started with Vince Wilfork, then Tully Banta-Cain, Leigh Bodden, Stephen Gostkowski. We've secured some pretty good players.
"This one [with Brady] was complicated and we committed in an uncertain environment given the labor situation. Both sides felt it was the right thing to do, and sometimes you show real leadership when doing the right thing."
Kraft, who had played golf with Brady on Cape Cod in early August, was asked if there was a breakthrough in talks at any point that sealed the deal.
"I really think it was a process," he said. "In any deal like this, there is an ebb and a flow. In the end, we have such a special relationship with Tommy and we're so lucky to have him. I think he appreciates what this organization is all about. We both know we have something special and we both want to preserve it."
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.