BOSTON (CBS) — There’s been a bit of turmoil surrounding the New England Patriots lately. It may not be anywhere close to being labeled “dysfunctional,” but nevertheless, for the past several months it’s been made clear through multiple reports that there have been some disagreements among the three most important people in the franchise.
Yet while some have said that a sit-down meeting with Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady was necessary to smooth things over, the Patriots owner said Monday that the meeting has already taken place.
It’s unclear what might have been accomplished in such a meeting, but it’s at least a positive development that one has taken place.
Kraft was also asked about Rob Gronkowski and the tight end’s consideration of retirement this offseason. Kraft said that he has seen Gronkowski inside the Patriots facility during the offseason.
And with the sting of losing a Super Bowl still somewhat fresh, Kraft was asked about Malcolm Butler’s benching and subsequent departure during free agency.
“With my fan hat on, you can come up with all kinds of reasons or things, but here’s the deal: We in New England are privileged to have, I believe, the greatest coach in the history of coaching. We’re involved in a number of businesses in our family – we’re in 95 countries in the world – and we try to encourage to have good managers and we want them to be bold, we want them to take risks. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t,” Kraft said of the decision to bench Butler, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “I have faith in Bill as a coach that I don’t think there is anyone who has the football knowledge and expertise combined with understanding personnel – no one can merge those two worlds [like him]. He’s done pretty well for us over the last 18 years. So, as a fan, I can question some of the moves. As someone who is privileged to be owner of this team, I encourage him to keep going with his instincts and doing what he thinks is right. There is no doubt in my mind, even if he made an error – and this is true with any of our managers – that if they’re doing it for the right reason, then I support it 100 percent. I’ve never had one instance in the 18 years where Bill hasn’t done what he believes is in the best interest of our team to help us win games.”
Kraft was speaking to reporters at the NFL’s owners meetings in Orlando.