K2384 BC-FBN-MEETINGS-PATS 04-01 0616


Kraft attempts to clear air

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As NFL owners and head coaches met Tuesday in their annual session to discuss a variety of topics affecting the league, Patriots owner Robert Kraft asked for a moment to speak. The room grew quiet as Kraft apologized for the embarrassment surrounding the Spygate episode that tainted the 2007 season and continues to hover over the league.

Kraft told the audience that nothing mattered more to him than his family and the league’s reputation, and that he deeply regretted the episode and all the controversy it continues to cause.

"It’s better to clear the air," Colts owner Jim Irsay said. "It’s better when people show humility. "


After Kraft was finished, the room erupted into applause, something rarely seen at these gatherings.

Then it was Bill Belichick’s turn. He, too, apologized for the commotion, and explained to the group that he had misinterpreted the rules regarding the taping of opponent’s defensive signals, and took the blame for not getting a clarification. Belichick told his peers and the owners that he thought as long as you don’t use the taped signals in the same game, it was allowable. He repeated his regrets.

No, Spygate might not be completely over, because Matt Walsh, the former Patriots employee who has hinted at further violations of NFL rules, is still out there and hasn’t yet agreed to tell what he knows. But in the eyes of the owners and coaches, the Patriots have at least been somewhat absolved.

It was "heartfelt" and "excellent," Colts coach Tony Dungy said.

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