Patriots

What story does Kraft-Belichick dinner picture tell?

What story does Kraft-Belichick dinner picture tell?

If Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft wanted privacy on Tuesday night, they could have easily found it. Instead, the two men dined at Davio’s in Patriot Place. Not in a booth. Not in a private room. At a table in the dining room.  

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Predictably, they were spotted and photos of the dinner confab were shared on social media.

With everyone blinking in disbelief at news Josh McDaniels was remaining with the Patriots, the import of the public dinner meeting was overlooked.

Both men know the speculation that’s swirled about their relationship over the past few months. There’s always going to be a natural tension with Belichick. Part of his brilliance is being unconventional yet decisive. I wouldn’t ever dispute the appreciation he has for Robert and Jonathan Kraft in allowing him to run the team as he sees fit -- as I’ve heard them say, “He’s earned that right . . . " -- but his interest in explaining every move is minimal and he gives off that vibe. Especially during the season and -- speculating here -- especially during this particular season.

Kraft, meanwhile, owns the business (which he reminded reporters of last week). And while he gives Belichick the latitude to run the football team as he sees fit during the season, he’ll going to have questions  and want answers.

I won’t guess what was discussed over the warm and delicious Davio’s spring rolls. Could have been Malcolm Butler sitting for the Super Bowl. Could have been Belichick’s exit strategy in a couple of years. Could have been getting a new rug in the locker room (that thing is dank).

But the fact they met in the open implies they wanted the public to see there is no fissure. Or at least that promised postseason conversations between all Patriots principals -- Kraft, Belichick and Tom Brady -- are underway.

Sources explained to me that Josh McDaniels’ decision to stay was tied entirely to clarity about the direction of the Patriots.

He didn’t know where his future stood with the team. He didn’t know what Belichick’s future plans were. He didn’t know if he was first in line, somewhere in line or in line at all in a possible succession plan.  He’d asked for a status report prior to the end of the regular season and felt it was ambiguous. Which is why he decided to move on.

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The unified Kraft-Belichick front that spent Monday and Tuesday convincing McDaniels to stay (and making sure it would be worth it for him to take the heat he’s currently taking) is an excellent sign for the franchise in the wake of a tension-filled, drama-stuffed 2017 season.

The painful loss to the Eagles in a game that was there for the taking is a cut that’s still fresh. Belichick will have to sort through that with his players.

But the image of Kraft and Belichick breaking bread in public tells a story of air being cleared and tension being addressed.

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Report: James Harrison could return to Patriots

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Report: James Harrison could return to Patriots

James Harrison was a larger than life figure during his time in Pittsburgh. 

It was as if God molded him to be a member of the Steelers: massive, physical, and an absolute bruiser.

But at the end of the day he is a football player. And athletes in this sport don't particuarly like time on the bench.

Mike Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers organization were reminded of this fact in a very harsh manner.

At the end of the December, Harrison made a late season move to sign with the Patriots. It left his former teammates in Pittsburgh frustrated, and his former fans confused.

But at the end of the day he just wanted to be on the football field again. And that's exactly where Belichick put him.

Harrison had the opportunity to appear in many more situations, and had several sacks at the end of the season.

Now there is a new report from Christopher Price of the Boston Sports Journal that he could re-sign with the Patriots in 2018.

A source close to Price and Harrison said "there's a reasonable chance" that he could be on the roster next year.

He will be playing this upcoming season at age 40, and has previously stated he'd like to play one or two more seasons.

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King: It was football, not family that kept McDaniels with Patriots

King: It was football, not family that kept McDaniels with Patriots

There have been all kinds of theories of what ultimately kept Josh McDaniels from taking the Indianapolis Colts head coaching job.

NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran offered his here and here. Ex-Pats linebacker Willie McGinest said he was told it wasn't because McDaniels was promised to eventually succeed Bill Belichick. 

Now comes Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who told NBCSports Network's "PFT Live" that you can cross off the theory that McDaniels' reversal was about not wanting to move his family to Indianapolis. 

“This had nothing to do with his family,” King said. “It was about the Patriots giving him a better option than Indianapolis.”

More here from NBCSports.com's Pro Football Talk.