Kraft on players skipping White House visit: We're all free to do what we want

Kraft on players skipping White House visit: We're all free to do what we want

Robert Kraft is aware that several of his players have chosen not to visit the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl LI victory. But the Patriots chairman and CEO told the TODAY show that that really isn't all that unusual.

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"Well, you know what's interesting, this is our, I'm happy to say, fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years," Kraft said when asked if his relationship with President Donald Trump has in any way strained his relationship with players. "And every time we've had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don't go. This is the first time it's gotten any media attention. You know, some of the players have the privilege of going in college because they're on national championship teams, others have family commitments. But this is America. We're all free to do whatever's best for us. We're just privileged to be in a position to be going."

Tom Brady made headlines in 2015 when he skipped the team's visit to Washington, DC followng its Super Bowl XLIX win, therefore missing the meeting with President Barack Obama.

Devin McCourty, Martellus Bennett, Chris Long, Dont'a Hightower, Alan Branch and LeGarrette Blount have said they won't visit the White House when the trip comes around later this year. Bennett, McCourty and Blount have all explained, in one way or another, that they do not feel welcome at a White House occupied by Trump.

Breaking down some of the Patriots' best NFL Draft decisions

Breaking down some of the Patriots' best NFL Draft decisions

Michael Holley and Tom E. Curran discuss the drafts/draft traits that stand out from the last 16 years of New England Patriots drafts.

Jimmy Garoppolo stays put as quarterbacks go high, Browns make moves

Jimmy Garoppolo stays put as quarterbacks go high, Browns make moves

For all the questions that surrounded the top quarterbacks in the 2017 draft, an early run on signal-callers still occurred. The Browns sat it out -- even facilitating another team’s selection of a QB -- yet Jimmy Garoppolo stayed put. 

Garoppolo not being traded ahead of or during the first round should not have come as a surprise; Adam Schefter has insisted throughout the offseason that the Patriots would not trade him for anything. Yet for the prices that were paid for QBs Thursday night, it’s still fascinating to think of what New England could have gotten for their backup. 

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The madness started nearly immediately. After Cleveland took Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett to open the draft, the Bears moved up from No. 3 to No. 2 -- trading third-and-fourth-round picks this year and a third next season to San Francisco -- to take UNC’s Mitchell Trubisky. 

At No. 10, it was the Chiefs moving up to the Bills’ spot, going all the way from No. 27 and giving up next year’s first as part of a package to secure Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Two picks later, the Browns were on the clock with Deshaun Watson still on the board, but they opted to trade the pick to Houston, who gave Cleveland the 25th overall pick this year and their first-rounder next year before selecting the Clemson star. 

The Browns, who have long been viewed as a logical potential destination for Garoppolo, made two more picks in the first round, choosing Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers 25th and trading back into the first round to make Miami tight end David Njoku their third first-round pick of the night at 29th overall. 

While the Browns obviously spent plenty of draft capital Thursday, they still have not addressed the quarterback position beyond Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan and trade acquisition (that’s a nice way of putting it; a more honest would be “salary dump acquisition”) Brock Osweiler. 

That leads Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot to believe that the Browns will still try to swing a trade for Garoppolo, who is entering the final year of his four-year rookie deal. Cabot writes that the Browns will “likely make a pitch for the Patriots backup,” though she too notes Scheffer’s insistence that Garoppolo isn’t going anywhere. The Browns now have two firsts and three seconds in 2018. 

The Patriots still aren’t slated to pick until the third round on Friday, when they’ll be on the clock with the 72nd overall pick.