Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Kraft Hopes for Goodell Draft News

Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, said on Monday that he personally asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to reinstate the draft picks the Patriots lost as part of their punishment for the Deflategate scandal.

Kraft said he wrote to the league over a month ago in response to Goodell’s claim that he would reconsider the punishment if any new facts were learned. The Patriots were stripped of a 2016 first-round pick and a 2017 fourth-round pick and were fined $1m after the league found Patriots employees had tampered with footballs during the 2015 AFC Championship game against the Colts.

“I personally believe that when the league made their decision, they did not factor in the ideal gas law. They admitted that publicly. They had a full year of being able to observe Tom Brady play with all the rules of whatever the NFL was, and make any judgments there,” Kraft told reporters in Boca Raton. “We have laid it out pretty straightforward. And now it’s up for them to decide.”

Kraft did not say whether he had received a response from the league.

Brady was originally suspended for four games, but that ruling was overturned last year and Brady played the entire season. The league is currently seeking to restore the ban.

Asked whether he holds out any hope of getting back the pick in April’s draft, Kraft said: “I pray and desire.”

“It’s very hard to compete without the lifeblood of the draft,” Kraft said. “And so we understand the importance and I assure we’ve done everything we can do that has a chance of success.”

But Kraft did praise Goodell for his work as NFL commissioner. “Putting personal situations aside, I think he has done a very good job,” Kraft said. “He’s worked hard. The health of the league has not been better. We have our issue that we don’t think has been handled well, but it is what it is.”

In the 13-minute session with reporters, Kraft was also asked if he was disappointed that the NFL didn’t share PSI readings from 2015 as part of the league’s new football testing procedures.

“They did their own testing, they have results, and for whatever reason, they haven’t shared them with any of us. We actually requested at the beginning of the season that they test every game throughout the league and do that, but they chose to do it their way,” he responded.

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