Patriots

Kraft: 2011 Patriots ‘Have Been My Savior’

By Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
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Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and team owner Robert Kraft chat before a game with the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on September 1, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and team owner Robert Kraft chat before a game with the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on September 1, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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FOXBORO (CBS) -New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke to the media on Friday as the team prepares for the AFC Championship, and he had some heart felt things about the 2011 Pats team.

This year’s squad has dedicated the season to the his late wife, Myra, and Mr. Kraft acknowledged his love for them.

“The team has been my savior,” he said. “[I have] my four sons and eight grandchildren, and this team has been like an extended family, and also past players.”

Read: 14 Patriots Questionable For Sunday

The players all season long have been wearing the “MHK” patch on their jerseys in honor of Myra, and Mr. Kraft feels his wife is with the team in spirit.

“I’m a great believer in spirituality,” he said. “I pinch myself that I have the privilege of owning this franchise. It’s such a great group of young men. They’ve been great to me, really great. Sometimes, a few of them come through and they touch the patch and say ‘That one was for mama.’ I hope we keep it going.”

Deion Branch was asked about winning for the Kraft family, and said his owner knows how much each of his players love him.

“Nobody can really stand in Mr. Kraft’s shoes right now, because it’s hard to tell how he’s doing. I’ve never been in that position,” said Brady. “But he knows that we truly love him, and we’re going to try to do our job to go out and execute and do the things he wants our team to do.”

This would be unbelievable if the Pats can give Mr. Kraft the ultimate gift this year.

More From Kraft

If you are wondering about Mr. Kraft’s bond with Bill Belichick, I don’t think you have to wonder anymore.

“I think he’ll go down as the greatest coach in the history of the NFL, because he’s really competing in the era of the salary cap,” Kraft said on Friday. “When I bought the team, it was the beginning of the salary cap, and I think a lot of great coaches had difficulty understanding how to balance the economics of the game and the budgets. His product knowledge is so great.”

Mr. Kraft went on and said he really enjoys the players and how they have come together this year.

“I really like this team a lot this year, and I think he’s done a great job assembling people. We have a very good locker room. We had the privilege of being the No. 1 seed back to back and I personally can feel a big difference in the locker room this year [compared to] last year.”

Read: Levan Reid’s Patriots Blog

One player he would like to have back next season is receiver Wes Welker, who is in the final year of his contract with the team.

“I think Wes wants to be here and we want him here,” said Kraft. “Hopefully when the season ends, both sides will be wise enough to consummate something. He’s pretty special. Any time there is a player on this team I can look eye-to-eye and be at the same level, he’s an important guy.”

Thoughts From Bill

Final day with the coach, tomorrow is a walk through for the players and they will not talk to reporters.  Today Bill Belichick said he is happy with the team.

“It’s coming down the stretch. I feel the players have worked hard this week. The Ravens are a real challenge to prepare for,” said Belichick.

Belichick was asked how he would prepare for the game, if there’s a way he goes about it and he said no.

“Each week is different for me. The preparation is different, the practices are different. It’s different what you have to do at the end of the week, maybe you want to talk to a certain player, or talk to the team in the meeting, or you’re thinking about whatever you want to do leading up to the meetings in the final hours,” said Belichick.

Read: CBS Local Picks For Championship Weekend

 Tune in to the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens Sunday, January 22 at 3pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Pregame coverage begins with a special two-hour Patriots GameDay on WBZ at 11:00am, with Patriots Preview beginning at noon on the Hub!

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