Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn’t wear a Tom Brady jersey to the podium at the team’s draft party at Gillette Stadium on Friday night, but he did wear his heart on his sleeve while talking about the quarterback.
Brady had his suspension reinstated by an appeals court ruling last week, setting up another round of legal squabbling. While Kraft didn’t fight the penalties levied on his team as a result of Deflategate, he made it clear that the team will continue to support the quarterback’s fight to get his four-game suspension overturned.
“Number one, there is no finer ambassador for the game of football, and the New England Patriots, than Tom Brady,” Kraft said. “We always have had, and will continue to have, Tom’s back. Especially when he’s being treated unfairly. He knows that. All the decisions that this organization and I personally have made throughout this ordeal have been focused on putting Tom in the best possible position for success.”
“Number two, I have been in constant communication with Tom over the past 16 months and we’ve had numerous conversations this past week. We are both on the same page and he knows exactly where my allegiances, and the total team’s [allegiances] are, relative to the extremely unfair discipline that he has been subjected to.”
“I share in our fans’ anger and frustration with the penalties the league has levied, and the entire process and how it was conducted. But please trust that I am always trying to do what I believe is best for this franchise, and pledge that I will always continue to do that.”
While the Patriots support Brady, they also need to make sure they are prepared in the event they have to open the season without him. They took a step toward doing that by selecting Jacoby Brissett in the third round, assuring themselves of another quarterback behind Jimmy Garoppolo on the depth chart.