BOCA RATON, Fla. — Robert Kraft’s prayers and desires — and, apparently, his letter — will not be answered.
The Patriots’ owner told reporters at the NFL’s annual meeting yesterday that he personally penned a letter to Roger Goodell last month asking that his team’s first- and fourth- round picks in the upcoming draft be reinstated. The Patriots were docked the picks as part of the punishment against them and quarterback Tom Brady in the Deflategate controversy that still is rumbling through New England, the league and the court system.
“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,” Kraft said. “I personally believe that when the league made their decision, they did not factor in the ideal gas law. They admitted that publicly last year.”
Kraft added that he “prays and desires” to get the picks back.
The NFL Network quoted a league source later in the day saying there is “zero chance” the Patriots’ picks will be reinstated.
Kraft would not say whether he received any response from his pen pal Goodell, and he seemed to sense that sentiment among his fellow owners in attendance at the meeting is not sliding in his direction on this appeal.
“I wish they would,” he said, “because they could be in a similar position.”
Kraft did not comment on the NFL’s ongoing appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that vacated Goodell’s decision to uphold Brady’s four-game suspension. Besides the picks and suspension, the Patriots were fined $1 million.
After the Colts accused the Patriots of playing with underinflated footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game, the NFL conducted random spot checks on inflation rates and game-ball procedures during the 2015 season. Those results have not been made public.
“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 at the beginning of the season that they test every game throughout the league and do that. But they chose to do it their way.”
Kraft also said that Brady’s play in 2015 — with, presumably, fully inflated footballs while under the NFL’s microscope — further exonerates the player and the team.
“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,” he said. “We had laid it out pretty straightforward, and now it’s up to them to decide.”