Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, who has been confrontational while warring with the NFL over whether his team inappropriately deflated footballs in a conference championship game four months ago, Tuesday said that he would accept the league's punishment and not continue the debate over the Patriots' culpability.
"I don't want to continue the rhetoric that has gone on for the last four months," Kraft said at the NFL owners meeting at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. "I'm going to accept reluctantly what he has given to us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric. We will not appeal."
The Patriots have been fined $1 million and had two draft picks revoked after footballs were found to be underinflated during the Patriots' victory in the AFC championship game.
The remarks by Kraft on Tuesday — he did not take questions from reporters — shifted drastically in tone from earlier this year, when he asked for an apology from the NFL if there was no definitive evidence against the Patriots. While Kraft continued to call the punishment unreasonable and described the evidence of the Patriots' wrongdoing "circumstantial," he also said the most prudent course for the Patriots and the NFL was for the team not to continue the debate over the underinflated footballs.
"At no time should the agenda of one team outweigh the collective good of the full 32," Kraft said. "Although I might disagree with what is decided, I do have respect for the commissioner and believe that he is doing what he believes to be in the best interests of the full 32."
Extra points change
The NFL is moving back extra-point kicks and allowing defenses to score on 2-point conversion turnovers.
The owners approved the competition committee's proposal to snap the ball from the 15-yard line on PATs to make them more challenging. In recent seasons, kickers made more than 99 percent of the kicks with the ball snapped from the 2.
That proposal places the two-point conversion at the 2, and allows the defense to return a turnover to the other end zone for the two points, similar to the college rule.
Union asks for recusal
The players' union has asked Goodell to recuse himself from the appeal hearing for Brady in the deflated footballs case.
A request from the NFL Players Association formally was made Tuesday, citing "a process that has contained procedural violations of our collective bargaining agreement."
"The commissioner's role as a central witness in the appeal hearing and his evident partiality with respect to the Wells report, the commissioner must designate a neutral party to serve as an arbitrator in this matter," the union said.
Stadium moves closer
The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders moved a step closer to building a new stadium near Los Angeles after a land deal was finalized on a site that could become the home of a shared $1.7 billion venue.
The transaction involving about 170 acres of land in Carson, a city of 93,000 people, came a day after the teams hired former San Francisco 49ers President Carmen Policy to spearhead their push to relocate to the nation's second-largest media market.
The Raiders and Chargers are planning a shared stadium if both fail to secure new stadiums in their current hometowns.