Kraft speaks on Welker, 'Patriot Way'

Kraft speaks on Welker, 'Patriot Way'
July 26, 2013, 2:15 pm
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The Patriots kicked off training camp on Friday outside of Gillette Stadium and all were on hand - including Patriots owner Robert Kraft watching from the sidelines.

Kraft took ownership of the Patriots all the way back in January of 1994, so this will be his 20th season owning the team. It's pretty clear that after all those years, Kraft's love of the Patriots has only grown.

Speaking with former Patriots fullback and current analyst on NFL Network, Heath Evans, Kraft opened up on a number of things, including the tough offseason the Patriots had - starting with losing Wes Welker to the Broncos.

"Wes, I sorely miss him. And I think Denver is lucky to have him," Kraft told Evans. "I actually heard him do an interview - I don't know if it was on NFL Network or where - but it was comparing Peyton [Manning] and Tommy [Brady] to Michelangelo and Picasso. I didn't know he was such an art historian (laughs). But he and his lovely wife, Anna, they always surprise me with their love of culture and the world and Wes was one of the special guys coming through here. A little shorter than you, a little thinner, but all of us medium-height guys could relate to him.

"Actually I was at my grandson Harry's 7-on-7 and a young man came up to me from the opposite team, and he said 'Thanks for having Wes Welker here, that's given my chance to play in college.' And he was about 5-5, 5-6."

Welker was one of the many Patriots who bought in to "The Patriot Way", and you can tell that that's a very important thing to Kraft. Production aside, it's undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons Kraft became such a fan.

The term "The Patriot Way" has constantly been referred to when talking about what it takes to be a member of the team - or Patriot family - and Evans asked Kraft flat out what the term meant to him.

"It's about trying to collect a lot of good people, having everybody in the organization on the same page, doing things in the community," Kraft said. "Let's remember, sometimes some of your colleagues don't like to give autographs, don't like to do things, but in the end what's paying your salary is all the fans.

"I really think that we, the NFL, bind each of our communities together, and when we win, it lifts the whole community and so they want to brand with us. So we have to always try to make sure we're doing things that make them proud to be bonded with us. Whether it's doing things in the community or trying to assemble good guys.

"You know what the players were like here," Kraft continued to Evans, who played for New England from 2005-2008. "You know what our locker room was like. You know the way we try to do things. I think people in America today, it's not just about money. They want to be connected to something they feel is special. And when they get up every day they look forward to coming to work. We try to create an environment here that does that. We're not always successful, but we give it our best shot."