New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he has been in communication with quarterback Tom Brady, who told him that he plans to attend the team's mandatory minicamp June 5-7, and Kraft is understanding of his absence at voluntary workouts.
"I think he's very excited about the upcoming season," Kraft told a small group of reporters at the NFL's spring meeting in Atlanta. "These are voluntary workouts, and I think he's in great shape. I think he's at an age where -- I was thinking back to when he joined us -- he's blessed to have three children now and built a number of businesses and has certain responsibilities. I think it's very hard for him to fulfill those during the season and the commitment he has to football. I can only say this: I know he's very excited about being at minicamp and having a very special season this year."
Asked about the perception of a rift between Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, or perhaps the organization, Kraft said, "From my point of view, nothing's changed. Everything is good and I think he's very excited about coming back, and I know we're excited to have him. We look forward to a great football season."
The Boston Herald reported that Brady was working out at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center earlier this week, while the majority of the team was on the field for organized team activities. Kraft was asked if he had any concern over that being the case.
"I don't have a personal tracker. I have all I can do to fulfill my obligations," he said. "The good news out of this, I've learned this over time, whenever one player isn't there, other players -- we're in a business of quality depth management. A lot of other players are able to get reps they wouldn't get and go down the learning curve. During the course of the season, a number of things happen where you can't plan, and it's good to have as much preparation as you can."
Kraft was also asked about tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has also stayed away from voluntary workouts.
"I'm pretty sure he'll be here as well [for mandatory minicamp]. We all love Gronk," he said.