New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft came on Boston sports radio station WEEI on Monday morning and strongly rebuffed an ESPN report that the team was close to a deal with offensive lineman Logan Mankins that was killed by Mankins’ unwillingness to publicly apologize.
Below is the full transcript of Kraft's comments on Mankins:
"There is a misconception that we have had a deal with Logan Mankins," Kraft said. "We have never had a deal with Logan Mankins.
“I hate violating a private conversation but I think it’s worthy because it speaks to this issue that -- I got a call three weeks go, maybe, something around that time, from Logan -- and he apologized to me for the comments that he made in the public media. He said that he regretted he did it. He knew in retrospect that they were not true. And I accepted his apology because he is a high quality guy.
“I also said to him, ‘You know Logan, it would be nice if that was made public because I'm hoping we do a deal with you. And I don’t want people to think that the way you do a deal is to say something that’s not true or involve ownership.’
“And I also want to be clear about this: Ownership of the New England Patriots does not get involved in the negotiation of contracts or make commitments to players. We bless the deals but we are not involved, we never make commitments.
“He understood that and he said ‘Look, Mr. Kraft, I feel bad. I will correct what I said either when I sign with the New England Patriots or if I get traded and sign somewhere else.' And he said that ‘My hope and intention is that I'll be a Patriot and go into the Patriots hall of fame.' And I said the same thing to him. And then there's been a negotiation but we have never had a deal.
“I’'ll just say this. We did make offers, and we don’t normally do this, but I want our fan base to be focusing on our team, not on misreports, misperceptions that are put out there. We made an offer that would allow him to be paid very well, like a Pro Bowl guard, I'm not sure his people felt it was appropriate. I know it was comparable with Nick Mangold’s salary.
“And I understand there is a back and forth and each side has to do what they think is right for their side and that’s part of this business. But at no time, and that’s what I want to stress, at no time have we ever had a deal with Logan."
When WEEI host Michael Holley asked Kraft to clarify his comments in regard to ESPN's report that the sides were close to a deal similar to the seven-year, $56.7 million contract that Pro Bowl guard Jahri Evans signed with New Orleans in the spring, and that the deal fell apart over the apology aspect, Kraft responded:
"That is a bold-faced fib," Kraft said. "We have never had a deal with Logan. We don't discuss the details, and I am doing this only because this is the beginning of the season. We have a lot of reasons to be elated. We do business in over 80 countries in the world. When we make a commitment or we do a deal, we have the same people we're doing business, It's word of mouth and we live up to our commitments. We've never had a deal here."