Don't count out the New England Patriots in the Logan Mankins sweepstakes. Not just yet anyway.
Patriots' owner Robert Kraft spoke with the media in Dallas on Friday, addressing a multitude of issues surrounding his team, primarily the status of their most important offensive lineman, patriotsplus.net reports.
"Logan Mankins is one of the best players on the team," Kraft said. "I think there has been a little misunderstanding about some things that have been written."
Mankins, who entered this season as a restricted free agent and held out until Week 8 against the Cleveland Browns, was unhappy with the tender he received during the offseason instead of a long-term contract.
Making the situation more difficult is the uncertainty of the upcoming NFL season, which is in jeopardy because of the new collective bargaining agreement negotiations, which currently find the owners and NFL Players Association at odds.
The war of words between Kraft and Mankins has been one of the more intriguing storylines throughout the last year. Kraft now appears to be putting that situation behind him in hopes of signing the Pro Bowler.
"I just personally want to say, I hope he's with us for a long term," Kraft said."We're going to try to do whatever we have to do to make sure that happens."
While Kraft's positive outlook on the Mankins situation makes for a nice news conference, until a deal is complete, the Pats find themselves once again walking a dangerous line negotiating with free agents.