Plenty of 'D' being played for Robert Kraft

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Plenty of 'D' being played for Robert Kraft

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com
NEW ORLEANS - Robert Kraft's got responsibilities that extend far beyond the local entrant in the National Football League. Corporations, charities, businesses - he's got a plateful.
Still, it must have pained him to be absent from the final negotiating sessions with the players before the lockout began. He was in Israel on a trade mission with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Patriots left tackle Matt Light said he was disappointed Kraft wasn't at the final sessions. On Monday, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said,"I respect Matt and I appreciate Matt's comments, but we do a lot of things other than just the New England Patriots."Something that's particularly important to Robert is the economy and job creation for people in all industries across the Commonwealth," added Jonathan Kraft. "This is a trade mission that had been worked on for a long time. Israel is a real center of high-tech anda lot of Israeli companies are choosing to pick Massachusetts as their corporate headquarters and this was about solidifying that and having more companies be comfortable coming to Massachusetts and create jobs. It was something he'd personally been working on a long time and he wasn't going to give that up. He helped put the whole thing together and it was something very personal for him.
"That being said, he didn't miss a call concerning the NFL labor talks, he didn't miss an e-mail, and he was up to all hours of the night. He was intimately involved with what was going on in the negotiations."Colts owner Jim Irsay also had the elder Kraft's back. "Bob had had that trip planned," said Irsay. "Part of being an owner is juggling many things. He's certainly had an impact. There are some times when you have to keep many things going, when you have many business commitments and people are depending on you. His trip was important and the negotiation is important. It's his judgment on how he balances both. It's not right to throw him under the bus and say, 'He should have been there, he doesn't care.'
"Many of us have different businesses and different things we do. Government people depend on us so you have to keep those commitments, too." Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

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Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."