If you were expecting Patriots owner Robert Kraft to publicly go against his coach, Bill Belichick, you aren't familiar with how the organization works.
On Monday, Belichick defended his decision to put Gronkowski in the game for the team's 59th point simply saying that, "football players play football."
Belichick has 100-percent support of the Kraft family, and that didn't change when Kraft was asked if he agreed with Belichick leaving Gronkowski in the game.
He does make a good point, Kraft said of Belichick in a Tuesday interview with Mike Lupica on ESPN New York Radio (listen to it here, around the 9-minute mark). Ive had this discussion (with Belichick) previous years, taking (Tom) Brady out or whatever, and he says, and I think its a valid point, when you start taking players out -- and youre saying this guy stays in, hes not as important as the other guy -- remember going back to that 01 Super Bowl, weve always put team first and trying to treat everybody -- no matter where they stand on the pecking order -- the same, you cant do it differently. I now accept that even though it hurts to see what happened to Gronk.
We always hear players -- no matter what their role is -- say that they've never experienced playing in an organization like the Patriots. Perhaps that idea of "we're all equals" goes further than we think.
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The Patriots had a handful of veterans who missed spring practices back on the field Monday.
The team's website posted video of a training camp "sneak preview," featuring clips from a practice held three days before the official start of camp. In the video were shown offensive tackle Nate Solder, running back LeGarrette Blount and safety Duron Harmon getting in some work after all three were absent from OTA practices open to the media.
Solder suffered a biceps injury last season that landed him on season-ending injured reserve, which helped throw the Patriots protection in front of Tom Brady into a state of flux for much of the remainder of the season. Should Solder be able to participate in camp practices, as it appears will be the case, the team will have a stabilizing presence on the left side of the line as it prepares for the regular season.
Blount also landed on IR last season after having suffered a hip injury late in the year. He hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent this offseason and eventually signed a one-year deal to remain in New England. If healthy, Blount figures to have the edge in claiming the "big back" role that he's filled for the Patriots at different points over the course of the last three seasons.
Harmon sported a red non-contact jersey during Monday's workout, indicating that he may still need some time before he's ready for any kind of tackling drills this summer. The fourth-year safety explained earlier this month that he was "ready to go" for camp after "just trying to clean up some things physically" during the spring.