Kraft recalls his first meeting with Tom Brady: 'I've never met anyone like him'

Playing football builds character. Look at me, I turned into one. Played in middle school. In high school I was too skinny but was fast enough and loved to hit. Football practice turns you into a man. You're in full pads, 90° weather in August and then practicing at night in early December below freezing. Can't feel your hands. You learn a lot about yourself on the field and it brings the guys together, especially on defense. I sent my high school highlight reel to my college and they sent it right back in the mail. But my daughter's play flag football and I'll be having Jesse Junior playing football whether he likes it or not, and he'll like it. He's a bruiser. Talent only goes so far. Work ethic is what makes you stand out, just ask Tom Brady. It hasn't always been that way for Brady. He was an afterthought in the 2000 draft, falling to the sixth round, but when Bledsoe went down, Brady left the bench and never returned. Whether you love him or hate him, you can't deny his hunger. I would encourage everyone to play football for the simple reason that it is hard. It's hard when you're young to wake up in the offseason at 6:00 AM to go train and work out, knowing that all your friends are sleeping in and eating pancakes. It's hard to throw, catch, block and tackle and hit kids when they're way bigger and way more developed than you, only to go home that night bruised and battered and strained, but knowing you have to show up again the next day for the just the chance to try again. But understand this, life is hard. That's why this week the New England Patriots inducted them into their Hall of Fame. Owner Robert Kraft honored Brady with a sold out ceremony at Gillette Stadium, retiring his iconic #12 jersey. There is only one iconic number that will always represent Tom Brady. And tonight, I promise that it will never be worn again as the number 12 is now officially retired. Patriots owner Robert Kraft joins me now from a picturesque, beautifully undisclosed location somewhere on the coast. All right, Robert, you know Tom almost better than anybody in the league. What made him so different? Well, he's, you know, I remember him coming to US 20 odd years ago and you know, he, he came down the stairs during training camp. He had a pizza box under his arm and he came over to me. I was just driving out and he said I want Mr. Kraft, I want to introduce myself. And I said, I know who you are. You're Tom Brady, our number six round draft choice #199 for Michigan. And he looked me in the eye and he said, and I'm the best decision this organization has ever made. That was in 1999, getting ready for the 2000 season. And you know, when he came in, he was the 4th quarterback. But he's one of these people. I've never met anyone like him in my life, and I just explained it like this. When he goes into the huddle, he makes average people better. He has a way to motivate and connect with people that's so unusual. But when you get him off of, he's so he's the most vicious, fierce competitor, but off the field, he is the kindest gentle. He's a man who goes to tears. He cares about people, and I've never met anyone with that kind of resilience. But he has a bond to be soft and then a bond to really be a killer. When he came to you with the pizza box and he told you right then that this, this was the best decision you've ever made, drafting him, what gave him that confidence? I'll never forget it. And we had just given Drew Bledsoe first player ever to get $100 million contract. He was our starting quarterback. There were two others. And, you know, thank God the coach at Michigan never played him the way he should have because we never would have got him in the sixth round. And it's just, you know, he works hard but and well, I'll tell you something else that was unique about him. Players want to earn money and earn as much as they can. And we have a salary cap. So when he really had won three Super Bowls, you know, and his first four years with us, I said it was a new contract and Asia was pushing really big time. And I said, look, we'll give you that, but I wish you'd take 30% less because that's not going to go in my pocket. It's going to go around to other players to make you better. And he's the only player in my history, I've been in the league now for 30 years who would take less money to make the team better. Well, I did something similar in order to make sure Gutfeld and Perino and Judge Jeanine were happy. I told Fox I'd gladly take a 30% pay cut just so the five stays together and keep coming along. Not a lot of people know that story, but I'm I'm glad I was able to share that. Well, that's the water's way. You look like you've been practicing the sign off. You're very good at it. What is some simple advice that people could digest tonight from you? I think Tommy articulated it beautifully and it bring, if you want to win, it's really a team sport. It's not individual and you got to get along with all kinds of people from all backgrounds. If you're not good in your running back, the old line isn't blocking for you or the tight end isn't blocking when you're doing the end around. So you got to learn to get along with all people and put team first. We need more of that in America today. We sure thank you for what? Thank you for what you and your network do. Robert Kraft, as an Eagles fan, I can say I like you. I don't love you, but I like you. Well, we let you win one big one. Thank you.

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