When the Patriots gathered today in their locker room, they had an unexpected speaker waiting. Owner Robert Kraft stood before the players and delivered a message. He urged the players to be thankful for what they have and to think about the less fortunate with Thanksgiving arriving tomorrow.
“He just told us how thankful he is for us and what we do,” cornerback Jonathan Wilhite said.
After Kraft addressed the team, coach Bill Belichick opened his press conference with a similar message.
“I just want to pass along Thanksgiving wishes to all the fans and players’ families, everybody who has to put up with us through the year,” Belichick said. “I’m thankful for Kraft family giving me the opportunity to be the coach here. He put the day in good perspective. It’s a good time to reflect and be appreciative, at least one day in the year. It probably should be every day.
“It’s a great time for all of us to be thankful, especially those of us with the Patriots. We have a great situation here. It’s a great opportunity.”
Patriots players appreciated Kraft’s involvement in the holiday, and his general attitude toward them year-round.
“I feel like he really does relate to the players a lot,” cornerback Jonathan Wilhite said. “He’s always in the locker room, talking, conversating with the players. I didn’t think you’d get that out of a lot of owners. He’s a friendly guy. He cares about winning, and I think he really cares about the football team.
“It motivates you. You know you got a higher power that believes in you, who really cares about you and this football team. It means a lot.”
“It meant a lot,” rookie safety Patrick Chung said. “It’s not often he comes in and talks to us. When he does, guys listen. I looked around, and everyone was focused in on him. When he comes around, everybody listens.”