FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – During a pregame interview Thursday on the team’s flagship station -- 98.5 The Sports Hub -- New England Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft discussed the current situation involving Tom Brady and his appeal of a four-game suspension.
Currently, there is no settlement between the NFL and Brady as proceedings continue in a New York federal courtroom. Brady was back on the field Thursday night and started the team's first preseason game against the Green Bay Packers and played only two series (1-for-4, 10 yards on seven snaps) at Gillette Stadium.
During the radio interview, Kraft said he's learned through experience to not comment on a situation before it's finalized. He said he wasn't sure if he should say much more but, of course, unloaded his thoughts.
He called Tom Brady the greatest quarterback of all time, mentioning all he's accomplished -- six trips to the Super Bowl, four championships, all with a "revolving cast of characters" during a 32-team, salary-cap era.
"Tom Brady is a human being and someone I've known for 15 years, and put aside he's a football player, he is the type of guy you would want as your best friend, as your brother, as your father and as your son-in-law," Kraft said. "He is a smart, empathetic, caring, honest, great human being."
With the exception of this current situation, Kraft went on to say Brady could have a chip on his shoulder given where he's come from in his career, but doesn't.
"He is just an exceptional person, aside from the football piece of this, you see what's gone on and he's above that and he's too good."
Added Kraft, "Too many other people, we've seen the stories, I'm not sure fully get what they should get in the scheme of the world, in terms of when they commit bad acts and it's not right. He is an exceptional person and we love him."
When asked if the organization would back Brady if he decides to accept a settlement, Kraft said: "Anything Tom Brady feels is best for him is fine for us."
Without a final conclusion to this Deflategate mess, Kraft described a possible settlement as a hypothetical situation.
"Tom loves the game of football, cares deeply about his teammates, cares deeply about the fans, and if something made sense to him because it was the right thing to do when he weighed everything together, we would absolutely support him 100 percent with what he wanted to do," he said.
Kraft said this has gone on too long and everyone should now focus on football.
"I believe Tom implicitly," he said.