Clearing the air on the Vrabel trade

Ever since Mike Vrabel confirmed in an email that he had been traded to the Kansas City Chiefs — in what turned out to be the first step in a bigger deal that sent the linebacker and Matt Cassel to KC for a second-round pick — there has been rampant speculation that Vrabel’s critical comments about NFL owners’ cries of financial difficulty in the Boston Herald paved the way for his unexpected exit.

Vrabel, who was the Patriots’ union rep and is currently a member of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee, said in the Nov. 9 piece that projects like Patriot Place, the outdoor retail and entertainment venue adjacent to Gillette Stadium that was constructed by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, are built on the backs of the players. But that players don’t get any of the revenue from them.

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However, at the NFL owners’ meetings in Dana Point, Calif., last week, Kraft said that Vrabel’s critical comments had nothing to do with the outside linebacker’s departure.

“Mike Vrabel actually is one of my favorite players coming through the system,” said Kraft in an interview with the Globe. “I think at this point it was a football decision to where his future was best, where he could bring the most value at this stage of his career. I was sorry to see him go. But in no way… It was a football decision.”

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