Kraft, who said he prefers the dark meat on Thanksgiving Day, and the Patriots handed out 220 Thanksgiving Baskets in Roxbury Tuesday night, an event Kraft looks forward to every year.
“It was pretty special. That Morgan Memorial does so much to help people get on their feet. It was the 18th year we’ve owned the team, and we lug those big baskets,” said Kraft.
“I’ll just tell you, the only bad part of that is the first basket I take out, and it weighs about 75-pounds, and we’re always going out into the lot and it’s dark; the lovely lady never knows where her car is. She says it’s right over there, but then she can’t find it in the dark,” he said. “Three years in a row the same thing; lovely ladies and they have no clue where they parked their cars.”
Kraft said he used to get help from his late-wife Myra, who got the event started 18 years ago.
“Those of who knew her know what a great woman she was. She was really a role model as a mother. Really we’re celebrating volunteerism; she was the number-one person in this region to do that,” said Kraft. “She never looked for accolades; she was doing the grunt work. What’s sort of been nice is wives and players on our team recognize she was trying to do good in the community.”
The Patriots owner has had to cope with the loss of his “sweetheart” after she passed away from cancer in July, but has such gotten help from a strong bond with his football team.
“We’re lucky to have such great guys on this team. This past year has been a savior for me to go down to the locker room and interact with those kids,” said Kraft. “If you go in the locker room and see the chemistry and spirit, we’re blessed to have some great young men. I give thanks that I have the privilege of being involved in this.”
That was on display Tuesday when they were on hand to give out the baskets.
“Kevin Faulk has gone to this every year since he’s been with us. We’ve seen his kids grow up.”
Other players on hand to help on Tuesday included Vince Wilfork and his wife Bianca, defensive lineman Ron Brace, and tight end Rob Gronkowski.
“Gronk is a special guy. The thing about him, we say he’s never had a bad day. As he was grabbing the basket out last night, I asked ‘do you ever think of doing ballet’ because of that flip on Sunday,” said Kraft.
Kraft applauded Gronkowski’s postgame comments that put a lot of his success on his teammates.
“If you listen to the interview and what he said, he really meant it; the reason I was able to get that is because there were so many other good receivers on the team that were getting double covered.”
Kraft is also a huge fan of all the football in the New England area on Thanksgiving Day.
“I don’t think there is any other area in the country that does it quite the same,” he said, adding he plans on attending the Newton-Brookline game.
Gillette Stadium will have plenty of high school football on Saturday December 3, as it hosts the Eastern Massachusetts championship games.
“I didn’t really want to put turf in here, we love the natural grass. But the real benefit we got was playing the high school Super Bowls here,” said Kraft.
The meaning of high school football really came to light for Kraft during a conversation with Patriots-great Andre Tippett.
“He said to me the greatest thrill he had after playing in the Super Bowl was playing in a Super Bowl at the old Meadowlands, when he was in New Jersey. So you think of all the experiences he’s had. Then I’m thinking all these young kids that year in and year out play the super bowls here, they’ll see the Hall at Patriot place, they’ll come see their game jerseys and they’ll build a tradition with their kids 20 years from now,” said Kraft.
Listen to Robert Kraft on Gresh & Zo in its entirety, as Kraft talks about the Pats matchup with the Eagles, building the popularity of college football in New England, and more on his late-wife, Myra…