BOSTON (CBS) — Last May, Robert Kraft reluctantly accepted commissioner Roger Goodell’s punishment in an effort to “tone down the rhetoric.” But less than a year later, the Patriots owner is reigniting his fight.
Kraft wrote a letter to the commissioner “over a month ago” in which he made a case for the NFL to return the Patriots’ first-round pick. Kraft told the media of his letter while speaking at the NFL owners’ meetings on Monday.READ MORE: Keolis Worker Put On Leave After Deadly Commuter Rail Crash In Wilmington
“We have put our best case forward, and that’s in the league’s hands now,” Kraft told reporters in Boca Raton, Fla. “I personally wrote a letter to the commissioner, responding to his comment that if any new facts came up he would take them into consideration. And I personally believe that when the league made their decision, they did not factor in the Ideal Gas Law. They admitted that publicly. They’ve had a full year of being able to observe Tom Brady play with all the rules of whatever the NFL was and make any judgments there.
“We have laid it out pretty straightforward, and now it’s up to them to decide.”
When asked directly if Goodell responded to the letter, Kraft only said, “I’m moving on from that.”
“I pray and desire,” Kraft said of his hopes for getting the first-round pick back. “In this age of parity, everything is — the scheduling, the salary cap — it’s very hard to compete without the lifeblood of the draft. And so we understand the importance, and I assure we’ve done everything we can do that has a chance of success.”
Kraft said that while his case was strong, he does not expect to receive much support from his fellow owners.
“I don’t think you’ll see any momentum among our peers,” Kraft said. “I wish they would, because they could be in a similar position.”READ MORE: Massachusetts Reports 24,512 New COVID Cases Over 3 Days, 78 Additional Deaths
As for the NFL’s decision to not disclose the recorded PSI levels from this past season, Kraft said the team was hopeful that such numbers would come to light.
“They did their own testing, they have results, but for whatever reason, they haven’t shared them with any of us,” Kraft said. “And we actually requested that at the beginning of the season, they test every game throughout the league and do that, but they chose to do it their own way.”
Kraft also had a message for the fans, many of whom felt let down when Kraft accepted Goodell’s punishment last year.
“I want our fans to know that I empathize with the way they feel,” Kraft said. “There’s no one who wants every edge and to put this team in the best position we can do to win. I just say, you think of the 34 years before we bought the team, and now we just finished 22 years. We’ve had the privelege of going to 11 conference championship games. That’s one every other year, and I think that eight teams in this period have never gone to a championship game — 25 percent of the league. And we’ve gone to seven Super Bowls and won 15 division championships. So I don’t think anyone can doubt that we’re not trying to do everything we can to put ourselves in the best position to win and have the Patriots franchise be very strong.”
Kraft, notably, spoke highly of the job Goodell has done as commissioner.
“Putting personal situations aside, I think he has done a very good job,” Kraft said. “He’s worked hard. The health of the league has not been better. We have our issue that we don’t think has been handled well, but it is what it is.”MORE NEWS: Investigators Narrow Time Of Harmony Montgomery Disappearance To Late November, Early December 2019
After Ted Wells and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash concluded their investigation into the Patriots’ alleged ball deflation scheme, the NFL ruled to suspend quarterback Tom Brady for four games while hitting the team with a $1 million fine and stripping a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017.