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Old 03-26-2007, 09:40 PM   #60
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Reiss news roundup.

On the news front, running back Laurence Maroney underwent shoulder surgery after the AFC Championship Game. That Maroney underwent surgery was first reported by the Boston Herald, and has been confirmed. Maroney will naturally be limited in the team's offseason program, but the injury isn't expected to threaten his 2007 season.

Bob Kraft interview at the Owner's meeting:
PHOENIX -- Patriots owner Robert Kraft just met with a large group of reporters here at the NFL annual meeting.

Here is the Q&A:

The commissioner addressed the owners and other league executives this morning. What was his message?
“He gave a great speech. One of the things he spoke about was something we just dealt with in the [meeting] room by approving the qualifiers of how we’re going to do revenue sharing for the rest of our agreement. So I think there is a feeling from a number of us that we appreciate what a great league we have, and how special it is. We’re partners inside. The real enemies are outside the room. I think we came up with a program now -- which was contingent when we did our labor deal -- that allows us to fulfill the last [piece] of the labor deal: a revenue sharing plan. If we hadn’t agreed, and it only had two negative votes, then the commissioner would have had the unilateral power to decide. So this takes us through the past year and the next three years. He also mentioned that Harold Henderson is retiring. Harold has led the labor negotiations for the last 15 years and has done a very fine job. I think there are new challenges, and the commissioner and Jeff Pash, as well as Greg Levy from the Washington office, are going to take this over and start working on a new agreement. Of course, the revenue sharing and the new [labor] agreement are linked together.”

You said all along the Patriots would spend, but some have criticized you. Was this always the plan in free agency?
“We’ve actually always spent. If you look at the history, this is the beginning of our 14th season. We always spent up to the cap, or over the cap. I think it’s just a different style. There are inefficiencies in the marketplace. Every individual team’s needs are different -- what’s right for us might not be right for someone else -- and we knew that there were 25 teams that had a lot of cap room. So people were going to come fast off the market. We had to decide what was right for our franchise, and then be ready to move in the marketplace. We didn’t like being one minute away from going to the Super Bowl, and anything we could do to make our team better and improve, that’s what our focus was.”

How crucial was Adalius Thomas to that plan, having him be the centerpiece?
“Talk about inefficiency in the marketplace. There is a player who normally would be franchised, but because of the unique situation that Baltimore was in, he came free to the market. They had allocated so many dollars to defense, and what have you, and that was our opportunity to move. I think he liked our system, and his agent worked well with Scott [Pioli]. I think he really appreciated having Bill Belichick as a coach, and what we’re about as an organization and a team. He came off the market fast, but you knew that anyone like that was going to go fast. We adapted to the marketplace rather than wait for things. I think people think we’ve done things differently this year, but we haven’t. Whatever is the right strategy to improve our team, we’re going to employ. Sometimes it’s better to wait, and sometimes it’s better to initiate and act quickly.”

What is your opinion of the revenue sharing plan that was approved today?
“I don’t think anyone is 100 percent happy with it, but when we did our labor agreement it was contingent on having this plan. I think it was a wonderful compromise with the committee. I’m glad it didn’t have to go to the commissioner and we got 30 out of 32 votes. I think it’s a very fair plan.”

Back to the Patriots, at these meetings, what’s most important to the franchise that is being decided?
“I think the most important thing is passing this qualifier [for revenue sharing]. We have a great partnership in this league, as a business. We have to get the room back together as a whole. I think in this last labor negotiation there was a lot of division from within, and a lot of fracturing, and I think we have to work very hard to bring it together. I think taking this qualifier issue off the table now allows us to try to get back to a balanced partnership with the union.”

There has been plenty of talk on the personal conduct policy, and the commissioner will address that. What is your take on that?
“I think since we’ve bought the team we’ve shown what kind of people … we actually cut a player [Christian Peter] a number of years ago who was drafted who didn’t fit the profile of what we want. I don’t think the general public wants to see overindulged athletes getting a lot of money who don’t respect the responsibility and privilege they have. I don’t think major sponsors want to brand with us if we’re not diligent in that area. I think we’re going to come out of this week with a much stronger player-conduct policy, and I think a majority of the owners are very supportive of that.”

Who were the two “no” votes on the revenue sharing?
“Cincinnati and Jacksonville.”
Compensatory picks
The Patriots were awarded four compensatory draft picks today -- a fifth-rounder, two sixth-rounders and one seventh-rounder.

The fifth-round pick is 171st overall. The sixth-rounders are 208 and 209. The seventh-round pick is 247th.

The picks were a result of losing compensatory free agents Tom Ashworth, Matt Chatham, Andre Davis, Tim Dwight, Christian Fauria, David Givens and Adam Vinatieri.

The lone compensatory free agent signed by the Patriots was Reche Caldwell.

The Patriots' four picks was a league high, tied with the Ravens.

Box note: This puts the Pats back to ten picks. Three picks day one.

Del Rio back tracks on his spearing remark about Brady.
Del Rio follow-up
PHOENIX -- With many of the league's head coaches in attendance at the NFL annual meeting, it offers a chance to tie up a few Patriots-related items from the 2006 season.

One is with the Jaguars and coach Jack Del Rio.

In a brief interview on Monday, Del Rio said his words were taken out of context when he said his defenders should have speared Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the Dec. 24 meeting between the teams.

The comments came in the days after the Patriots defeated the Jaguars, a game in which Brady absorbed a hard hit in the back from linebacker Clint Ingram while diving head first on a running play. The play was deemed legal by the NFL, although it appeared to be close to a spear.

In the days following the game, Del Rio was asked about the hit, and he brought up another play in the game in which Brady appeared ready to slide, but instead kept running as Jaguars defenders pulled up.

“They should've speared him then," Del Rio said on at the time.

Del Rio explained the situation today.

“I was asked a question with that word and I didn’t re-direct, and I answered using that word,” he said. “It wasn’t my thought. The word is not an appropriate word. Obviously, that act is not legal and we don’t teach it. It ended up playing out differently than it was.”

Del Rio said he hasn’t spoken with Patriots coach Bill Belichick about the remarks.

Last edited by Box_O_Rocks; 03-26-2007 at 09:45 PM..
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