After two postponements because of the Boston Marathon bombings and the aftermath, the Patriots' director of player personnel, Nick Caserio, held his predraft press conference Monday.
It was the first time that a Patriots front office member or coach has been made available since the bombings, and Caserio began his session with a statement.
"In regard to last week, I think it's fair to say all of our minds were elsewhere and the last thing we were thinking about was the draft and football," Caserio said. "Before we get started on the football front, just a prayer and a thought to the families of the victims and those directly affected by the events of last week.
"I think all of us were impacted indirectly, but some more directly than others. Thoughts and prayers are still with everybody as we're recovering, and a debt of gratitude is certainly in order for the law enforcement officials of Boston, specifically Watertown for their swift efforts last week, their painstaking efforts, to reach a resolution, enable us to get back to some degree of normalcy. It's a slow process. I think we're all working through it, but without their efforts, we probably wouldn't even be standing here today having a press conference.
"Definitely a debt of gratitude and appreciation is in order for them. I think it's been pretty neat to see the city of Boston respond to the events. This is a strong city. It's a hard-nosed city. It's a tough city. The one thing about it, the people of Boston, we're going to fight. We're going to battle.
"Some of the efforts of the people last week, the first to respond, were pretty heroic on that front. Sitting down here at Gillette Stadium, probably can't really understand the true impact that it had on people there live, but I think it speaks to the city of Boston and what we're about. I think that's most appropriate for everybody here today."
Caserio went on to congratulate the three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame, Tedy Bruschi, Leon Gray, and Chuck Fairbanks.