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Globe Editorial

NFL dispute: Interception by Robert Kraft

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft speaks in Washington Monday. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft speaks in Washington Monday. (Associated Press)
July 27, 2011

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With the NFL having just resolved the labor dispute that hung over it for months by putting in place a new, decade-long collective-bargaining agreement, Robert Kraft’s skill as a leader and a negotiator has been one of the more compelling storylines to emerge out of the talks. The New England Patriots owner’s involvement is all the more remarkable because he just lost his wife of 48 years, Myra.

It’s not surprising that other owners would laud Kraft’s leadership and involvement in the negotiations - they’re on his “team,’’ after all. What’s more telling, especially given the recent animosity between NFL players and owners, is that several players cited Kraft’s role in getting a deal done to reporters - a sentiment perhaps summed up most powerfully by Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday.

“Without him, this deal does not get done,’’ Saturday said in a press conference from Washington after the deal was struck. He described Kraft as “a man who helped us save football’’ and expressed gratitude for his efforts.

Nobody wanted to see the nation’s most popular sports league lose any regular-season games to money issues, and Kraft deserves credit for helping to make sure this didn’t happen.