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Robert Kraft reflects on 'sweetheart'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft reflected Wednesday on the life and global impact of his wife, Myra, as the team is dedicating its 2011 season in her memory.

"The reach of my sweetheart is unbelievable," said an emotional Kraft, who wore a Patriots pin with the initials "MHK" -- for Myra Hiatt Kraft -- on his suit jacket.

Patriots players and coaches will wear the "MHK" patch throughout the season. Myra Kraft died July 20 after a courageous battle with cancer.

"I don't know that she understood the global reach of what she did and how she impacted people," said Kraft, noting that the Myra Kraft Giving Back Scholarship Fund -- created after her death -- has already raised more than $3 million.

"We have to keep that legacy going. We will continue to do it as a family," Kraft said.

Kraft, who said he plans to read every letter, email and tweet he's received, is starting an emergency fund in the region to help those in need. The fund will be in Myra Kraft's name.

Also, the Patriots Charitable Foundation will focus its season-long initiative on recognizing and rewarding volunteerism.

Kraft said he drew strength from having so many former players at Myra Kraft's funeral, as well as those who later paid their respect.

"Seeing Willie McGinest come from California, Richard Seymour from Atlanta, and Rodney Harrison, and Troy Brown, Ty Law, Curtis Martin, and then Randy Moss coming to [our] home ... some of the letters we've got from players around the league, it is a sense of family," Kraft said.

"What a privilege. For them to make that effort, it meant a lot. I hope my sweetheart was smiling seeing it."

Kraft, who said he hopes people remember Myra Kraft as having a "heart of gold," fought back tears throughout the interview when reflecting on his late wife.

"We were together for almost 50 years," he said. "I had the best seat, with the best person on the planet.

"I'm blessed. I had the best life partner, I have a great family, I'm involved in a business I love; I'm passionate about this business and want to win more than anything. It also allows us to do things in the community and touch people."

That community involvement, which was a Myra Kraft staple, will be a prevalent theme of the 2011 Patriots season. The "MHK" patches reflect that.

"I hope they are good-luck charms," Kraft said. "There is no one dearer to me. I'll be wearing it all the time."

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.