New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft denied reports that guard Logan Mankins walked away from a deal with the team about two weeks ago.
"There have been negotiations, but we've never had a deal," Kraft said Monday during a surprise appearance on WEEI-AM's "Dale and Holley Show". "We did make offers and we don't normally do this, but I want our fanbase to be focusing on our team, not misreports or misperceptions that are put out. (Our offers) would have allowed him to be paid very well, which we felt was appropriate. I know it was comparably to what (Jets center) Nick Mangold made. I'm not sure his people felt it was appropriate.
"I understand there is a back and forth with negotiations. But at no time did we have a deal with Logan Mankins."
ESPN.com reported Sunday that Mankins balked at Kraft's request for a public apology for comments made about the Patriots' organization. But Kraft described that as a "bold-faced fib."
"I hate violating a private conversation, but I think it's worthy, because it speaks to this issue," Kraft said. "I got a call three weeks ago maybe, something around that time, from Logan, and he apologized to me for the comments that he made in the public media. He said he regretted he did it. He knew in retrospect that they were not true. I accepted his apology because he's a very high-quality guy.
"I also said to him, 'You know, Logan, it would be nice if that was made public, because I'm hoping we do a deal with you. And I don't want people to think that the way you do a deal is to say something that's not true or involve ownership.' He said, 'Look, Mr. Kraft, I feel bad. I will correct this either when I sign with the Patriots or when I get traded and sign somewhere else.' He said, 'My hope is that I'll be a Patriot and go into the Patriot Hall of Fame.' I said the same thing to him."
The comments to which Kraft referred likely were those made by Mankins in early June before the league-imposed deadline to sign his $3.26 million restricted free-agent tender. Mankins refused to sign it and has stayed away from the Patriots ever since.
"Right now, this is about principle with me and keeping your word and how you treat people," Mankins said then. "This is what I thought the foundation of the Patriots was built on. Apparently, I was wrong. Growing up, I was taught a man's word is his bond. Obviously this isn't the case with the Patriots."
Kraft also responded to strong comments made by Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss following the team's season-opening victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
"I feel I have a good relationship with Randy," Kraft said. "I think that's what he basically said. I think we're glad to have him part of this team. I consider him a very intelligent young man and I'm happy he's with us."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.