Patriots

Robert Kraft lends Patriots' plane to transport N95 masks from China

Robert Kraft lends Patriots' plane to transport N95 masks from China

The New England Patriots and the Kraft family are actively joining Massachusetts' fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft commissioned New England's team plane to fly to China to transport 1.2 million N95 protective masks back to Massachusetts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Per the Journal, Mass. Governor Charlie Baker reached an agreement with Chinese manufacturers two weeks ago to receive a shipment of the masks, which are essential to the safety of health care workers exposed to COVID-19 but are in woefully short supply in the state.

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But Baker didn't have a way to transport the masks to the United States -- until the Krafts stepped in. Working with Baker and the U.S. State Department, Robert and Jonathan agreed to lend their team plane as transport.

The "Air Kraft" landed in Shenzen, China, according to the Journal, where extra precautions were taken during the three-hour loading process: No one from the flight crew left the plane to avoid the risk of infection.

The Boeing 767 departed Shenzen at 3:38 a.m. on Wednesday morning, per the Journal, and is set to arrive Thursday afternoon at Logan Airport, where Robert Kraft, Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will greet the plane, according to Politico.

The National Guard then will transport the 1.2 million masks to a "strategic stockpile" in Marlborough, Mass., Politico reported.

The original order was for 1.7 million masks, per the Journal, but only 1.2 million could fit on the plane, so the remaining 500,000 will be sent to the U.S. in a separate shipment early next week.

Massachusetts had 7,738 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, according to the CDC, including 122 deaths from the novel virus. Both of those numbers are expected to grow exponentially.

Tom Brady gives inspiring commencement address for Forman School in Connecticut

Tom Brady gives inspiring commencement address for Forman School in Connecticut

Tom Brady took time out of his Saturday to congratulate the Class of 2020 at the Forman School in Litchfield, Conn.

The former New England Patriots quarterback gave an inspiring virtual commencement address in which he implored the graduating students to embrace adversity. Brady used the coronavirus pandemic as an example of a challenge the students -- along with the rest of the world -- are learning to overcome.

“We’ve all had our difficult times overcoming different adversities and challenges that we’re facing, and this one is no different,” Brady said. “I think what you understand when you’re going through things like this is you learn from them and you make the best of them.”

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Brady also spent time talking about his own career, and the obstacles he overcame to go from the No. 199 overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft to a six-time Super Bowl champion and arguably the greatest QB of all time. The 42-year-old stressed the importance of putting 100 percent effort into everything one hopes to accomplish in life.

“Your future is going to be what you make of it,” Brady said. “Because you ‘re not going to be able to rely on people to do things for you. That’s not the way life is. If you want to be great at something, you’re going to have to put all your commitment and effort and discipline into doing just that.”

Click the link in the tweet below to watch Brady's full commencement address:

Now that's a speech the Forman School Class of 2020 will never forget.

NFL Rumors: Cam Newton, Patriots had discussions in free agency

NFL Rumors: Cam Newton, Patriots had discussions in free agency

There's been a lot of smoke surrounding Cam Newton and the New England Patriots.

Apparently there was some fire earlier this offseason.

Here's ESPN's Jeremy Fowler in a report Saturday on the free-agent quarterback, who is expected to take his time before signing with a team:

League sources believe Newton and the New England Patriots talked early during his free agency but nothing materialized.

The Patriots seemed like a potential fit for Newton in late March after Tom Brady left New England to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Carolina Panthers released Newton after his injury-riddled 2019 campaign, but the 31-year-old still is a three-time Pro Bowler and former NFL MVP who boasts the experience that presumptive starter Jarrett Stidham lacks.

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According to Fowler, the Patriots had at least some level of interest in signing Newton before seemingly moving on. Newton likely would have had to take a massive pay cut to play in New England after making $16.7 million with the Panthers last season, as the Patriots had very little cap space prior to the 2020 NFL Draft.

Fowler suggested Newton may wait until teams resume "regular activity" amid the coronavirus pandemic before meeting with clubs in person.

If the Patriots already talked to Newton, it's unlikely they'd again consider signing him later this offseason -- although the oddsmakers still beg to differ.