Bombshell report claims Robert Kraft sabotaged job opportunity for Bill Belichick

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

It has been well-documented that Bill Belichick's relationship with Robert Kraft has been contentious in recent years, stemming from what most believed was Tom Brady's departure after the 2019 season.

The Patriots have struggled in the seasons since, failing to find an adequate quarterback to take over in the legendary quarterback's shadow and build a roster capable of being competitive and attaining some sort of success.

There has been plenty of finger-pointing from fans and reporters regarding who is to blame for the team's downfall, with most of it being put on Belichick's shoulders. Rumors and unflattering reports seem to back up that assumption in recent months, particularly leading to the coach's departure in January and has only become more volatile since.

The conversation surrounding the failures of the last four years has continued, but the Apple TV+ docuseries "The Dynasty" has been the cherry on top of it all. What was promoted as a behind-the-scenes look at the Patriots' incredible two-decade run atop the NFL under Belichick and Brady has since been described as a hit piece on the head coach, even by current and former players.

It was just the latest attempt to smear Belichick's reputation, seemingly by Kraft himself. Despite the overwhelming belief that Belichick needed to be let go, most have come to his defense with a changing view of the longtime owner.

Because of all the effort by the Krafts to not look like the villains this offseason, nearly everything they have done has resulted in the complete opposite. The belief was the breakup with Belichick would absolve us from dealing with any more of the apparent drama within the building, but it continues to remain a top story this offseason, only getting worse with the latest report from ESPN on Wednesday morning.

Bombshell report claims Robert Kraft sabotaged job opportunity for Bill Belichick

If you thought you've heard it all regarding the deteriorated relationship between Belichick and Kraft, you were wrong and now the stories of all stories just dropped to make you really question everything.

The bombshell report by ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler details nearly every situation that has transpired involving the former Patriots coach this offseason, including more speculated drama involving Kraft.

Most of what was published is information we already knew but then comes the reveal of sources suggesting Kraft actively sabotaged Belichick's job opportunity to become the next head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, a job that seemed like a shoo-in at the start of the offseason only to unexpectedly and unexplainably fall through at the last second.

Fowler, Van Natta Jr., and Wickersham go over how Belichick seemed to ace his interview with owner Arthur Blank, who left the meeting thinking he had found the next head coach of his franchise. But while checking his references, Blank "spoke by phone, at least twice, with [Robert] Kraft" who he considers a close friend.

Allegedly, Kraft wasn't too kind in his assessment of Belichick, essentially warning Blank of the dangers in hiring him.

"But in a conversation with Blank, Kraft delivered a stark assessment of Belichick's character, according to a source who spoke to two people: a close Kraft friend and a longtime Belichick confidant. The source quoted the Belichick source as saying, "Robert called Arthur to warn him not to trust Bill." That account was backed up, the source said, by the close Kraft friend.

Multiple sources said that Kraft spoke with "some candor" to Blank about Belichick, though the sources declined to elaborate. One source close to Belichick said Kraft "was a big part" of why the Falcons passed on hiring him.

The sources said Kraft made clear to Blank that "you'll never have a warm conversation with" Belichick, echoing what Bill Parcells told Kraft in 1996 when he wanted to bust the budget and hire Belichick. "Blank likes coaches who feel part of a family," a Falcons source said, "and it wasn't going to be that way with Bill."

It's quite a contrast to how Kraft presented their relationship during the press conference to announce Belichick's departure from the team. What seemed like a chummy, respectful relationship has continued tainted by chatter behind the scenes, with this latest reveal being very telling.

There's no reason for Robert Kraft to be actively working against Bill Belichick in his post-Patriots job search

Given how tumultuous things were said to be over the last few years, it's not entirely shocking to hear Kraft would have some resentful feelings he'd be willing to share with a friend. However, Belichick was finally out of his hair and not a concern of his any long, so why put in so much effort to jeopardize a job opportunity for him?

Even if he found Belichick to be "extremely difficult and obstinate and kind of stubborn and, in the end, not worthy of his trust. And also very, very, very arrogant" as it is reported he told Blank, seeing him work for another team shouldn't be a concern of his, right?

According to a source close to Belichick, Kraft has all the reason in the world to not want Belichick coaching anywhere anytime soon.

Asked whether Kraft had any motivation to keep Belichick off the sideline, a source close to the coach said: "If Bill goes on to have success and Tom already had success, then who does [Kraft] have to blame?"

Regardless of how poorly Kraft is being viewed now, mainly due to his own words and actions, the ESPN writers did include a Patriots spokesman vehemently denying the accusations alleged in the article.

"Robert steadfastly denies saying anything negative to Arthur Blank about Bill Belichick after Robert and Bill mutually agreed to part ways," Patriots spokesman Stacey James said. "In fact, Robert advocated for Bill to get the job."

Based on what we've seen and heard over the last few months, or even years to be frank, it seems more likely that Kraft did warn Blank about Belichick during their interview process. It's an unfortunate turn of events, but not totally unexpected.

The only hope now is that we will stop hearing about more drama between the two. The Patriots have many more things to focus on right now than seeking revenge on a former head coach stemming from a years-old grudge.

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