By Tom E. Curran
NFL owners gathered in Atlanta on Tuesday to discuss heading off a work stoppage for next season.Meanwhile, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was still processing his own team's work stoppage in 2010. Speaking to Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe, Kraft went long-view first."I think if anyone had said at the beginning of the year that wed go 14-2 and get a bye, I dont think there would have been any takers. To see the way it evolved and everyone put the team first, the coaching staff did a great job and we really got excited with this team and then it got yanked away from us.So great credit goes to the Jets and Rex Ryan and what they did. They earned it."Of the pregame crap-talking by New York, Kraft said, "I dont think thats our style, but I guess it happens from time to time."Meanwhile, Jets owner Woody Johnson, speaking on the same topic, noted, "Those things happen. Youve got high spirits on both sides of the equation. There were shots fired on both sides. Thats part of competitive sports.Ideally, youd like to lessen it,'' he said. "But the emotion used to play the game of football is high. This is not for the faint of heart. If thats the worse thing that happens for the rest of the year, Ill be delighted."Hold that delight. The trash talk is probably trumped by the Jenn Sterger, Ines Sainz, Michelle Ryan troika of embarrassing occurences. As for the labor issues, the league side is expressing irritation that the players association isn't doing more bargaining with them. Said Kraft on the bleak outlook for a new CBA, "Its the same, he said. I think theres more litigation going on than negotiations, so thats unfortunate. But I guess maybe thats just the process.Tom E. Curran can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran
It's been almost two years exactly since the Deflategate saga began during the AFC title game between the Colts and Patriots on Jan. 18, 2015.
Since then, Robert Kraft has expressed his displeasure at how the whole thing was handled by the league -- particularly as it relates to the treatment of quarterback Tom Brady -- on multiple occasions. And according to a story in the New York Times, that feeling hasn't subsided.
"Sometimes, the league really messes up, and I think they really messed this up badly," said Kraft . "But we’ve all agreed to subjugate our right to disrupt everything.
"I mean, we can, but we’re a partnership. There’s jealousy, there’s envy, there’s stupidity. Sometimes, life is unfair, and you have to suck it up and move on and not use it as an excuse."
Brady served his four-game suspension to start this season, and Kraft opted to accept the league's punishment for the team following the 2014 season: They were docked two draft picks (a first and a fourth) and fined $1 million.
The piece includes Kraft's thoughts on President-elect Donald Trump ("Loyalty is important to me, and he has been a wonderful friend," Kraft said), as well as comments from others on how Kraft has handled his situation ("I think Bob has exhibited disagreement, but he’s also very capable of making and influencing change," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said).
You can read the full piece here.
FOXBORO -- The Patriots have had perfect attendance at each of their last two practices. The Steelers, on the other hand, have been working with less than a full deck.
All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell has been conspiculously absent from Pittsburgh's practices each of the last two days. On Wednesday, he was listed on the injury report as a non-participant due to non-injury related reasons. On Thursday, coach Mike Tomlin announced that Bell had been excused from practice due to "personal reasons."
Tomlin added that Bell will be ready to go against the Patriots on Sunday so it seems as though the team is painting this as a nothing-to-see-here situation. And it probably is. Whether or not Bell practices at all this week won't necessarily have any bearing on the AFC title game; if he's healthy, he'll be a factor.
If for some reason he doesn't follow up his 170-yard performance against the Chiefs with another strong game, however, people will wonder how his preparation was impacted by missing out on the first two of his team's on-the-field sessions this week.