BOSTON (CBS) — The relationship between the Patriots and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is sure to be one of the hottest topics in the buildup to Super Bowl LI. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will certainly face a barrage of questions from the media during the week in Houston, but owner Robert Kraft has already taken it upon himself to speak on the matter.
Kraft did an interview with Gary Myers of the New York Daily News on the relationship between the Patriots and Goodell – as well as President Donald Trump, another figure who will inevitably be the subject of questions for Brady and Belichick.
On Goodell, Kraft spoke of a strained relationship caused by DeflateGate – but also admitted that the matter needed to eventually be put in the past.
“I don’t know if it will ever be the same,” said Kraft when asked about his relationship with Goodell. “But in order to do what is best for the Patriots franchise long term, I believe it is best to compartmentalize and move on. … Like our quarterback, I am trying to remain positive and look to the future rather than dwell on the past.
“As a native New Englander, that’s easier said than done, but I am doing my best to put the matter behind me.”
Kraft was also asked about his friendship with President Trump, who mentioned the Patriots – and Kraft, Brady, and Belichick by name – in several speeches throughout his campaign and leading up to his first days in office. Kraft, who attended a pre-Inauguration event with Trump, told a story of how the President supported him when he was grieving for the loss of his wife Myra.
“When Myra died, Melania and Donald came up to the funeral in our synagogue, then they came for memorial week to visit with me,” said Kraft. “Then he called me once a week for the whole year, the most depressing year of my life when I was down and out. He called me every week to see how I was doing, invited me to things, tried to lift my spirits. He was one of five or six people that were like that. I remember that.”
It’s unlikely that Brady or Belichick will be as open or forthcoming about their relationship with either Goodell or Trump when asked about it. But it is likely that they feel the same as Kraft and wish to simply put their issues behind them.