Kraft expecting ‘def late-gate’ apolog y
Patriots owner says team will be found not guilty
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft demanded an apology from the league once the Patriots are found to be not guilty of breaking any rules regarding using underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship game.
A conclusion Kraft is certain will occur.
In an unscheduled statement, Kraft strongly defended his team’s actions and integrity Monday night.
“I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots did nothing wrong in this process that was in violation of NFL rules,” Kraft said at the team’s first media availability in Arizona.
“If the (Ted) Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular to coach ( Bill) Belichick and Tom Brady, for what they’ve had to endure this week,” Kraft added, at times sounding angry.
“I’m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon. We expect hard facts rather than circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation.”
The NFL has said evidence shows the Patriots used underinflated footballs during the first half of the AFC title game victory over Indianapolis. The league is still determining why the balls were underinflated.
NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss are leading the probe. Wells was the investigator in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal and has said the current investigation could last a while.
Belichick and Brady fol- lowed Kraft to the podium, but basically left any comments on the investigation to their boss.
When asked if he was upset by the accusations and jokes of which he was the subject, Brady said: “I’ve moved past those initial feelings and I want to move forward.”
This hardly is the first time the Patriots have been under such scrutiny. Most famously was 2007, their undefeated regular season. Revelations that New England videotaped New York Jets coaches’ signals during a game cost Belichick a $500,000 fine, and the team was fined $250,000 and stripped of its 2008 first-round draft choice by the NFL.
During this year’s playoffs, Ravens coach John Harbaugh accused the Patriots of being deceitful with some alignments on offense. The NFL exonerated Kraft’s team of any wrongdoing.
Now, Kraft has taken the of- fensive.
“I, and our entire organization,” he said, “believe strongly in the integrity of the game and the rules of fair play are properly, equitably and fairly enforced.”
Gordon fails another drug test: Josh Gordon’s troubles have deepened. He may be out of chances — and time.
The wide receiver for the Browns has failed yet another drug test, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Sunday. Gordon, who has twice been suspended by the NFL for drug violations, could be banned for one year, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the testing.
ESPN, citing anonymous sources, first reported Gordon’s failed test.
Cleveland’s patience with Gordon has been pushed to its limits.
“Clearly we are very disappointed to hear the latest report regarding Josh,” a Browns spokesman said Sunday in a release. “At this point, due to the confidential nature of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, we have not been made aware by the league of a failed test. We are in the process of gathering more information and will provide further comment at the appropriate time.”
Gordon’s latest misstep could lead to the team releasing the talented 23-year-old.
A Pro Bowl selection in 2013, he was suspended 10 games last season because he tested positive for marijuana. He returned for five games but failed to deliver the spark the Browns had hoped. He was then suspended by the Browns for violating team rules before the Dec. 28 season finale at Baltimore.
Gordon had missed the team’s walk-through the previous day, and following the season coach Mike Pettine revealed that Gordon had been guilty of multiple violations during the season.
Gordon missed the first two games in 2013 but still led the league with 1,646 yards receiving and emerged as the one of the league’s top playmakers.
Last year, he received a oneyear suspension that was reduced to 10 games after the league and Player’s Association revised its drug policies.
A second-round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft, Gordon signed a four-year contract worth $5.3 million as a rookie. He figured to cash in with a bigger contract following his monster ’13 season, but Gordon’s legal issues — he was arrested for drunken driving during his suspension last season — have clouded a bright future.
Gordon failed several drug tests while in college, but the Browns couldn’t ignore his talent and gave up a secondround pick to select him three years ago. It seemed like an ingenious move when he was shredding defensive backfields, but now Gordon’s days as a pro could be over.
Bears add to staff: Adam Gase is the new offensive coordinator for the Bears, following coach John Fox from Denver to Chicago. The Bears also interviewed Gase for head coach before selecting Fox for the job. Gase also had headcoaching interviews with San Francisco, Buffalo and Atlanta.
Gase was Denver’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, and the Broncos led the NFL in scoring offense, total offense and passing offense during that time period. He joined the Broncos as the wide receivers coach in 2009.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft reads a statement during a news conference Monday in Chandler, Ariz.