Roger Goodell Denies Beef With Robert Kraft, Patriots: Deflategate ‘Not Personal’

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If you think Roger Goodell has treated the New England Patriots unfairly over the last few years, Robert Kraft agrees with you. But the NFL commissioner doesn’t.

Goodell touched on several Patriots-related topics Wednesday during a radio appearance with FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd, including why he didn’t attend any New England playoff games this season. Cowherd also brought up Goodell’s relationship with Kraft, asking if the Patriots owner really was upset with the commissioner for his handling of Deflategate.

“I wouldn’t be doing my job if somebody wasn’t unhappy with a decision that you make or why you’re doing it,” Goodell responded. “Robert and I can disagree about things. We have a healthy respect for one another. But that’s true with any owner. And that doesn’t affect my relationship or the fact that we work together to try to make the NFL better, ultimately.”

Goodell added that his four-game suspension of Tom Brady for allegedly tampering with footballs had nothing to do with any personal vendetta against New England.

“We obviously in many cases have to discipline our clubs,” Goodell said. “That’s part of the process, and we do that with a large number of our clubs when there are violations of policy. But it’s not personal. It’s professional, and it’s to make sure that we’re doing everything to protect the great game we have and promote it.”

Brady has the chance to get his “revenge” in Super Bowl LI, as the commissioner would have to hand the Patriots quarterback the Lombardi Trophy if his team defeats the Atlanta Falcons on Feb. 5. Cowherd asked Goodell if he’d feel uncomfortable handing the trophy to the player he suspended for a quarter of the season.

“Not for a second,” Goodell said. “… I am going to be thrilled. … Tom Brady is one of the all-time greats. He has been for several years. He’s on the precipice of at least potentially winning his fifth Super Bowl. He’s an extraordinary player, great performer and surefire Hall of Famer.

“So, it would be an honor.”

Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images

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