New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft says he doesn't know if his relationship with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will ever be the same after the Deflategate scandal.
Kraft and the Patriots were fined $1 million and the team had a first-round draft pick taken away after the NFL concluded that quarterback Tom Brady more than likely tampered with footballs before the AFC Championship in January 2015 against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that season.
The issue was not resolved until last August when Brady decided to end his appeal of his four-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the league.
“I don’t know if it will ever be the same, but in order to do what is best for the Patriots franchise long term, I believe it is best to compartmentalize and move on,” Kraft said to the New York Daily News. “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 said Deflategate and the surrounding drama probably impacted the way Brady played this season.
“He’s a very positive person, and did it give him a little extra motivation? Sure,” Kraft said, “The whole thing, yeah, I think it was extra motivation.”
Brady threw for 3,554 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, leading the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the seventh time in the last 15 seasons.
Kraft declined comment when asked about Goodell possibly handing the Lombardi Trophy to Brady should the Patriots win Super Bowl LI on Sunday.
"I’m not going to speak to that,” Kraft said. “I hope we do win, then we can talk about it.”
- Scooby Axson