In an interview with the Patriots Radio Network on Thursday, team president Jonathan Kraft exalted Tom Brady and expressed frustration over the quarterback’s season-opening four-game suspension for his role in the Deflategate scandal.
Of Brady, who has won four Super Bowls with the Patriots, Kraft said (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI), “From our perspective, he’s the type of professional athlete that you want to celebrate, hold up as an example, not only to other players in the league but hold up to kids that are playing the game, and just as somebody you want to model your life off of, not only as a professional athlete but how he is as a father to his children, a husband, a son to his parents, a brother to his sisters. He is as good of a human being as you can get.”
After praising Brady, Kraft took aim at the NFL, stating that the league’s treatment of the 39-year-old “eats at” the Patriots organization. “And there’s still a tremendous amount of, there’s frustration around how the pure facts of science and lack of any type of tangible, hard evidence that certain people can look at those circumstances and then try to taint him or his legacy without that type of evidence,” he continued.
A few items on Brady’s fellow quarterbacks:
- Colin Kaepernick is vying for the 49ers’ starting job, but shoulder tightness is currently preventing the sixth-year man from competing with Blaine Gabbert, as Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group writes. It’s important to note that Kaepernick’s right shoulder – not the left shoulder that required November surgery – is the one bothering him. The 28-year-old is “not too concerned about” the issue, he said Friday, and classified it as “just tightness.” Nevertheless, Kaepernick’s inability to garner first-team reps isn’t helping his cause in a battle that Gabbert looks primed to win, according to Inman.
- Despite going in the second round of this year’s draft, Christian Hackenberg was unable to get into the Jets’ preseason opener against Jacksonville on Thursday. Head coach Todd Bowles offered an explanation afterward, telling reporters (including Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday), “We wanted to take a look at Geno (Smith) and Bryce (Petty). And to play Hackenberg with minimal reps in practice would be doing him a disservice to play him with minimal reps in a game.” Bowles went on to state that it “remains to be seen” whether the former Penn State signal-caller will appear in either of the Jets’ next two preseason games. “It’s not like we’re forced to play him right now,” added Bowles, whose club has two veteran options in starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and Smith, a fourth-year man. Petty was a fourth-rounder last year who hasn’t yet appeared in a game.
- If any Jets quarterback is in jeopardy of the team handing him a pink slip this summer, it’s likely Petty. But Tara Sullivan of USA Today opines that New York should take the rare route of keeping four passers. Indeed, with Fitzpatrick and Hackenberg not going anywhere, Smith possessing substantial experience, and the Jets having made a somewhat significant investment in Petty just over 15 months ago, they do look like strong candidates to employ a quarterback quartet.
- In the biggest QB-related news of Friday, the Bills inked starter Tyrod Taylor to an extension.