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

Bovada: Brady third in MVP race behind Elliot, Carr

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Bovada: Brady third in MVP race behind Elliot, Carr

Tom Brady has racked up some impressive numbers over eight games, but are they enough to surpass Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott or Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in the MVP race?

The Patriots have gone 7-1 since Brady returned from his four-game suspension to start the year, and the league's all-time winningest quarterback has completed 68.9 percent of his passes in that stretch (third in the league) for 2,470 yards. He has 19 touchdowns, he's been picked once, and he is averaging 8.2 yards per attempt (third), giving him a 113.1 quarterback rating (first). 

According to Bovada, he's currently the third-best bet to win MVP at 15/2, down from 4/1 last week. Ahead of him? Both Elliott (12/5) and Carr (7/2). 

The Carr comparison is an interesting one for obvious reasons. Because they play the same position, it's easier to match up their stats. In 12 games, Carr has completed 65.5 percent of his passes (12th) for 3,375 yards (fourth), 24 touchdowns (seventh) and five interceptions. He's averaging 7.4 yards per attempt (15th), and  he has a rating of 100.3 (seventh).

While Carr has the statistical advantage of playing in four more games than Brady has, he's also led his team to a record of 10-2 and the No. 1 seed in the AFC at the moment. (The Raiders hold the strength-of-victory tiebreaker edge over the Patriots, who are also 10-2.)

Meanwhile, Elliott, the talented rookie out of Ohio State who has the benefit of running behind arguably the league's best offensive line, has racked up 263 carries for 1,285 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He's also posted 28 catches for 322 yards and a score. He leads the league in total rush yards, he's second in the league in rushing touchdowns behind Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount, and he's fourth in yards per attempt (4.9).

Gronkowski nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

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Gronkowski nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski is up for one of the NFL's most prestigious awards, and it's not simply for what he's done while on the football field. 

The Patriots tight end is the team's nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, it was announced on Wednesday. Each year the award recognizes one player for his excellence on and off the field.

“We’re proud to honor these outstanding men who represent the NFL’s best on and off the field,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “Our players have a unique platform to make a difference far beyond the field of play. We salute these individuals who are exemplary in their commitment to making a positive impact in communities across the globe through their dedicated service and philanthropic efforts.”

The winner will be announced in Houston on the night before Super Bowl LI.

Gronkowski was named the 14th Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award winner in August.

"Rob is just as fun to watch at a community event as he is on the game field," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said at the time. "Giving back to the community is a big part of being 'Gronk.' "