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Kraft: 'Brady is going to be part of this franchise'

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft met with the media in Orlando and discussed the futures of his team's quarterback and head coach.  

They're the most triumphant triumvirate the NFL had to offer over the last decade. No team had the stability, talent and consistent success in ownership, coaching and at the quarterback position like the Patriots had last decade.

Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have formed the foundation the league's most successful franchise has been built on since the turn of the century. And if the owner has any say – and obviously he does – the trio will remain together well into the next decade, too.

Speaking to the Boston media at the annual NFL owners' meetings in Orlando, Fla., Kraft made it very clear that Brady isn't going anywhere any time soon. Though the two-time Super Bowl MVP is in the final year of his current contract, Kraft told reporters that the sides would be working on an extension and seemed to ease any fears fans might have that Brady could hit the open market.

"Let's put it like this: Tom Brady is going to be part of this franchise," Kraft told the Boston Globe and others. "He wants to be, we want him…you know, great things in life happen if you're flexible and not rigid. We have to find a way to satisfy him and the team and have a team that can win -- big time. That's what it's about. We're bound to a lot of different factors in an unknown environment. So, we're not sleeping…it's just complicated. And it's complicated for everyone. So we hope we do a satisfactory job. We'll figure it out, one way or another."

Kraft took a similar and as always guarded approach when talking about his head coach's future. The last reported contract extension for Belichick supposedly ran through 2013. Without getting into specifics, the owner expressed great happiness with his working relationship with the future Hall of Fame coach.

"We have an understanding," Kraft told reporters. "He's here, he's coaching. He loves what he does. There's not another head coach I would prefer to have over him. It's working. It's like a marriage, you know? And there's an ebb and flow, and it's not always straight-lined, but I think we've got something pretty good here and we want to keep it going."

While Belichick, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and Kraft are all part of the Patriots party at the meetings, Brady's location has been a topic of debate in recent days. The quarterback has remained on the West Coast while his teammates opened the Patriots offseason workout program in Foxborough.

Though maybe not the ideal situation in terms of having his franchise quarterback working out on his own, including some recently photographed boxing workouts in Beverly Hills, Kraft is understanding of the situation.

"If you're asking me would I prefer that he be here the whole offseason, yes," Kraft told reporters. "You know, to me, he's the most unique, special leader and player in the NFL...(The workouts are) voluntary, he's got a family. Look at your lives – you've all changed. So it's priorities. There's no doubt in my mind he's working out hard. Would we be better as a team if he was in Foxboro every day between now and the start of training camp? Absolutely. Would that work for him? I don't know. I think he's balancing a lot of things. I hope he spends as much time as he can in Foxboro, and I believe he will."

The owner actually expects to see No. 12 at Gillette Stadium sooner rather than later.

"I wouldn't be surprised if before these meetings are over he wasn't at the offseason workouts," Kraft said.

So while the current labor situation in the NFL is a big part of the focus at the annual meetings and has put uncertainty on the plate of all 32 teams in the league, in New England that necessarily unsettled future should include the mainstays from the last decade that have held key roles in making the team such a success. Kraft, Belichick and Brady dominated the last decade and plans are to keep the trio together well into the next 10 years.

For more from the NFL meetings in Orlando, stay tuned to Bill Belichickis expected to address the media on Tuesday and will bring you video of that meeting in its entirety.

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