Kraft would rather give to charity than invest in European soccer

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Kraft would rather give to charity than invest in European soccer

Don't worry, Patriots fans. Robert Kraft isn't going to pull a Fenway Sports Group on you any time soon.

Speaking with CNN International from Wimbledon, the Patriots owner said he would rather make a donation to charity than invest millions of dollars in a top European soccer club.

Kraft said he likes all his businesses to stand on their own, and some of the top soccer clubs in the world haven't been able to do that. With exorbitant player salaries and profits that can't keep up, many teams are losing money.

Manchester City, which won the English Premier League, has run up huge losses -- 300 million for the last financial year (the highest figure in English football history) -- to assemble a championship team.

"Manchester City won the championship this year and I hear they're going to lose 156 million," Kraft said. "I would rather give that money to charity if I had it. I want every business to stand on its own."

Kraft could have bought a stake in Liverpool, which was ultimately purchased in 2010 by Red Sox owner John Henry.

Here's more of what Kraft told CNN:
I would only do it, if there was a salary cap. It's the same thing I said three years ago.We could have bought Liverpool before the two ownership groups who preceded us and in the end I don't want to compete in a business where people throw money at something.I want to be able to compete. The fans in Liverpool are awesome and they are expecting to win every year, and if you are competing with people who have different rules then it makes it difficult.We have the resources to do it, it's just I choose not to do it . . . I don't want to be in a business that does not stand on its own, I want every business to stand on its own, and for ego reasons I'm not willing to lose that kind of money.The only way I would go into a sports business is to win. And, I don't think I can compete on an equal footing so I choose not to do it.

Of course, Kraft already owns a soccer team: the New England Revolution. As the team has struggled in recent seasons, local MLS fans have criticized him for not wanting to invest in that team, either.

Giardi: Butler's offseason may cut deep, but it's time for him to battle back

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Giardi: Butler's offseason may cut deep, but it's time for him to battle back

This hasn’t been easy for Malcolm Butler. None of it. He’s never been given anything. Hell, at times he’s pissed his future away. But with a tenacity that reminds you of a certain 199th pick in the 2000 draft, Butler has fought his way back, into college, into the pros and, in 2015 and 2016, into the upper echelon of NFL cornerbacks. He’s a two-time Super Bowl champ, making arguably the most memorable play in the history of that game.

He should be drinking in the adulation, savoring an incredible start to his career and a very lucrative future. Instead, he’s in both professional and Patriots purgatory. Free agency beckons but there’s a season to play, and as this is the only professional team he’s known, a burning desire to be recognized as an important piece, not just in the present, but the future of this organization as well.
 
One of his closest friends on the team, Dion Lewis, calls Butler a warrior. “The game means so much to him.”

Another teammate, fellow defensive back Devin McCourty said of Butler, “This is what he does. He competes.”

Duron Harmon insists that the 27-year-old corner has been the same guy he’s always been. Actually, they all say that. But clearly, the coaching staff sees something different, leading to Butler’s demotion Sunday in New Orleans. 
 
Bill Belichick has been short when talking about Butler dating all the way back to the spring. That hasn’t changed now that the games count. He’s dismissed past performance. All that matters is how you’re playing now. Butler has not established that same level. Why? There is no easy answer.
 
The lack of a new contract cuts deeply. The unsettling offseason -- was he going to be a Saint? -- left quite a mark as well. But Butler came back to Foxboro with purpose, reporting for voluntary workouts. He was hell-bent on proving to all -- Belichick included -- that he was still the lead dog, not Stephon Gillmore, despite the $31 million dollars in guaranteed money the organization forked over to the former Buffalo Bill.
 
That strategy worked for a time. Butler was one of the Pats best players in training camp, right up until the joint practices with the Texans midway through August. What happened? Butler doesn’t know. But one mistake became two. His play in the preseason game with Houston was poor. His confidence suffered. He started pressing. That didn’t help. Butler was just as bad at Detroit. The kid that had always answered a knockdown with one of his own, instead wobbled to his feet. The inconsistencies were evident in practice but the "he's-Malcolm-he'll-fix-it" thought process that teammates echoed didn’t prove true, at least not entirely.
 
According to Eric Rowe, the cornerbacks were informed of the role change at the beginning of last week. But other teammates said they didn’t realize Butler wasn’t starting until the walkthrough Saturday. The ensuing fallout wasn’t surprising -- HE’S MALCOLM BUTLER, SUPER BOWL HERO, DAMMIT -- but the worry around the team has been justified because Butler takes things to heart. His swagger comes from the game. That was stripped away prior to the game against the Saints, and even at the beginning of this week, leading into the Texans game. Butler had to get his head right. If his meeting with the media Thursday is an indication, he has.

But the proof is in the play. Butler has always known that. And while his play didn’t warrant a role reduction, another message has been sent by the powers that be in Foxboro. What happens next is all on Butler. His future depends on it.

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Patriots place Vincent Valentine on IR, promote Geneo Grissom

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Patriots place Vincent Valentine on IR, promote Geneo Grissom

FOXBORO -- Anyone hoping to see Vincent Valentine make his season debut got some bad news Friday. 

Valentine, who has been inactive for both of the Patriots' first two games with a knee injury, was placed on injured reserve. ESPN's Field Yates was first to report the news.

With Valentine on IR, Geneo Grissom was added to the roster from the practice squad. ESPN's Mike Reiss had that one first:

Valentine, whom the Pats chose 96th overall in 2016, has not been practicing with the team as he's dealt with the knee injury.

A third-round pick of the Pats in 2015, Grissom was released by the team in September and signed to the practice squad a day later.