Patriots principal owner Robert Kraft is similar in that he rarely leaks sensitive information to the media. But sometimes, Kraft offers up an interesting nugget or two, and Monday was no disappointment.
Speaking to reporters during a break in the NFL's Annual Meetings, Kraft was asked about the proposed rules changes for next season. The owner revealed the team had inner dialogue about the possibility of Tom Brady returning from his ACL surgery in 2008.
“I think the biggest [rule change] is being able to bring back an injured player,” Kraft told reporters. Even the year with Brady and the Kansas City game, he possibly could have come back at the end of that year. He actually wanted to, I remember the discussion. I think all that does is just allow us to keep the game more exciting for those teams that make it to the playoffs, it’s a great opportunity to be able to do that. I think it’s a very positive thing.“
The exact timing of those discussions are unknown, but Kraft, Brady, Belichick and the Patriots medical staff reached a definitive conclusion very quickly, as the quarterback was placed on the season-ending injured reserve the day after his injury.
However, this is a previously unknown wrinkle to the story and speaks to the intensity of Brady's competitive spirit.
The NFL's competition committee is reviewing a rule change that would allow one injured player from each franchise to return during the same season despite the injured reserve trip. Kraft was asked for his opinion on the topic because Patriots center Dan Koppen easily could have returned for the stretch run in 2011.
Like Brady, Koppen broke his ankle in Week 1 of the season, but New England was in need of every available roster spot it could get, and so, Koppen's season was officially ended.
Needless to say, it's a rule change Kraft wholeheartedly supports.
"In the end, there are so many great players in this league," said the owner. It's a physical game. Knowing that a player could come back in the second half of the season who maybe [is] banged up for eight weeks, I think it will help to improve the quality of the game. I think it's a plus."
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