Jeff Saturday Reflects on ‘Heartfelt’ Hug, Respect He Gained for Patriots Owner Robert Kraft

Jeff Saturday Reflects on 'Heartfelt' Hug, Respect He Gained for Patriots Owner Robert KraftFOXBORO, Mass. — The embrace between Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Colts center Jeff Saturday turned out to be a symbolic moment of the conclusion of the NFL lockout.

From an on-field standpoint, their organizations were rivals. From a business perspective, they needed one another as key cogs who had to come together to end the work stoppage, even though the two sides — the owners and players as a whole — struggled to see eye to eye throughout large chunks of the process.

Kraft and Saturday each had a heavy hand for their respective sides as they worked toward a resolution, so they developed an immense amount of respect for one another. Saturday, like many involved in the process, gained even more respect for Kraft as he realized his wife, Myra, was battling cancer. Myra Kraft died July 20, just a few days before the lockout ended.

"[The hug] was definitely heartfelt," Saturday said Wednesday. "We had all been made aware of Myra's condition, and we would talk about it from time to time and just ask him how everything was going. He would consistently just tell us that, 'She wants me here. She thinks this is important, not only for our game, but for America,' and believed wholeheartedly in what we were doing, and felt like we could get something accomplished without jeopardizing our game.

"I've got my wife and kids at home, and I can't imagine going through something as stressful as the lockout was on top of having an illness that you know is as serious as it was for his wife. I had a ton of respect for what he was doing, and I had a ton of respect for when he was there, he was engaged. He did a lot to help get the thing solved, but on top of that would go home and spend time with his wife regularly, which meant a lot of commuting for him. It was definitely heartfelt, and one of those things that I felt very honest and heartfelt about it. And it came out to be something to other people, but to me, it was more of a heartfelt gesture."

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