Robert Kraft came into the labor negotiations in a similar boat with his fellow NFL owners. As an owner, it's natural to assume that he would be painted as a bad guy. Yet, here we are, at the end of the lockout, and he is apologizing to the fans. Could the Patriots ask for a better owner? Here are his comments.
"First of all I'd like, on behalf of both sides, to apologize to the fans that for the last five, six months we've been talking about the business of football and not what goes on on the field and building the teams in each market, but the end result is we've been able to have an agreement that I think is going to allow this sport to flourish over the next decade and we've done that in a way that's unique among the major sports that every team in our league, all 32, will be competitive, we've improved player safety, and we've remembered the players who have played in the past.
Read the rest of Kraft's statement after the jump.
"You know, I want to give a special compliment to Commissioner Goodell and De Smith because the commissioner has to deal with 32 tough and demanding owners and he's been able to keep that balance but DeMaurice Smith has come in and he's managing 1,900 players, a bunch of different professionals - it's a new CBA with tricky language and he was able to keep all of those things going and come up with an agreement that he and Roger did together with their two teams.
"And lastly, what kept me at the table the last 4 ½ months was seeing the players who represented the...league's players. You know, they just didn't look at the short-term interests of their own playing careers, but the looked long term, especially Jeff Saturday and Dominique Foxworth, I was so impressed with them, that they acted as principals at the table, looking out for what's good for the game, so I believe you're going to see a very great NFL over the next decade. And I hope we gave a little lesson to the people in Washington because the debt crisis is a lot easier to fix than this deal was."