Morning sports update: Robert Kraft ‘hopes and prays’ Tom Brady still has a future with the Patriots

"He has the freedom to decide what he wants to do and what’s in his own best personal interest."

Tom Brady and Robert Kraft at Gillette Stadium in 2018.
Tom Brady and Robert Kraft at Gillette Stadium in 2018. –Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Tonight, the Celtics are in Washington D.C. to play the Wizards at 7 p.m. Boston will look to extend its three-game winning streak.

The Bruins are in Nashville tomorrow for a matchup with the Predators at 8 p.m.

Robert Kraft’s thoughts on Tom Brady’s impending free agency: For the first time in his career, Tom Brady heads into an offseason with his future with the Patriots in doubt. The 42-year-old is set to become a free agent, which is an unprecedented development after 20 years in New England.

Of course, Brady could still return to the Patriots. Team owner Robert Kraft made his thoughts clear on the issue when asked by NFL insider Peter King.

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“I just hope and pray we fit into his plans,” Kraft told King before the Patriots’ disappointing playoff loss on Saturday. “He is unique in the kind of leader he is, his work ethic, his selfless nature, everything. Think about it: He’s been with us 20 percent of the life of the NFL.”

Kraft admitted that Brady — who was drafted by the Patriots in 2000 and has been with the team since — has more than earned the freedom to choose his future.

“Before the season started, it was very important to Tom that he be free to do whatever he wanted at the end of the year,” Kraft explained to King. “You know what I said to myself? That any person who plays 20 years for this team and helps us get to six Super Bowls, and been really selfless, has earned that right.

“I love the young man like he’s part of my family,” Kraft continued. “Blood family. Anyone who’s done that has earned the right to control his future after 20 years. And you know, my hope and prayer is number one, he play for the Patriots. Or number two, he retires. He has the freedom to decide what he wants to do and what’s in his own best personal interest.”

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Brady’s contract voids on March 17, one day before the new league year formally begins. He will then become an unrestricted free agent.

Trivia: The last time the Patriots lost in the wild card (the 2009 season), New England responded by making what first-round pick in the 2010 draft?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, recording seven interceptions.

More from Boston.com:

Rodney Harrison on Tom Brady’s future:

Malcolm Butler gave a shoutout to New England:

Dez Bryant shared his thoughts on Jason Garrett being fired as coach of the Cowboys:

Paul George hit a shot on Sunday that resembled a famous one from Larry Bird:

On this day: In 1994, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by Shane Stant after finishing a practice skating session in Detroit. Kerrigan was struck in the right thigh with a baton, inflicting an injury that forced Kerrigan to withdraw from the US Championships.

Eventually, it was discovered that the attack was orchestrated by Jeff Gillooly and Shawn Eckardt. Gillooly was the ex-husband of Kerrigan’s rival, Tanya Harding.

Kerrigan would recover and compete at the 1994 Winter Olympics seven weeks later, winning a silver medal in the single skate. Harding was also on the Olympic team, finishing eighth. The controversy would continue to surround the duo well after the Olympics, as investigators probed into the details of the assault.

Harding took a plea bargain in March, pleading guilty to a conspiracy to hinder the prosecution. Gilooly was sentenced to two years in prison, while Eckardt and Stant each received sentences of 18 months.

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Daily highlight: It was an extraordinary day for 18-year-old Curtis Jones, as he scored a spectacular goal to help Liverpool defeat rivals Everton 1-0 in the FA Cup on Sunday.

Trivia answer: Devin McCourty