If Robert Kraft had a 2018 offseason campaign slogan, it might read like this: “It’s Not An Issue.”
The New England Patriots owner has taken the high road amid reports of turmoil in his organization. That trend continued this week in his interview with The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, who asked Kraft if Rob Gronkowski had assured the team he’ll play this season after hinting at retirement following Super Bowl LII.
“It’s not even an issue for me,” Kraft told Howe in an interview excerpt published Wednesday morning. “I didn’t know about it until I read about it in the paper.
“I saw him (recently at Gillette Stadium). We have a fun, good relationship. He is one of the most up people I know. I was impressed that he was coming in late and doing whatever he had to do to make himself feel right and get his body right.”
While Kraft didn’t directly answer Howe’s question, it sounds like the Patriots owner fully expects Gronkowski to suit up this season. That would fall in line with his previous comments about the All-Pro tight end, who still has yet to publicly commit to returning to the team.
There also have been reports of a disconnect between Gronkowski and the Patriots, notably head coach Bill Belichick. Kraft wasn’t asked about those reports, but he did acknowledge frustrations and second-guessing often emerge after a loss like New England suffered in Super Bowl LII.
“I do believe, though, people feel differently (after a loss),” Kraft added. “That was a tough loss. We’ll let things sort out and see what happens.”
Kraft appears to be taking the same approach to Tom Brady’s contract, telling Howe in the same interview he’s not concerned with the quarterback’s lack of an extension.
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