Patriots owner Kraft excited about core group of players

Although a season dedicated to his late wife, Myra, didn't have a storybook ending, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft commended his team's "strength and spirit" Monday, a day after losing Super Bowl XLVI.

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Kraft spoke briefly to the media before introducing head coach Bill Belichick for his season-ending news conference.

"When we dedicated this season to my sweetheart, I met with the players and coaches and asked them to do everything that they could do to make this season special in her honor," Kraft said. "I think our fans were just terrific, the way they stayed with us. And, I must tell you, that the strength and spirit I saw with the team is unlike any other team I've seen in my 18 years in the NFL.

"I think that sense of spirit also was ignited by our fans, the way they supported our team and also the way they supported our family. That's something that I'm forever going to be grateful for. I think this was a memorable season, and one I won't forget for a long time."

Overcoming any personal frustration, Kraft pointed out the Patriots have had only two losing seasons (1995, 2000) since he took over ownership 18 years ago. The Patriots have gone to seven conference championship games and six Super Bowls during that span.

"I think, what's happened is that we've set a level of expectation here that is high," Kraft said. "I'm very happy with that. It's the way we run all of our business. I'm actually very excited about the core group of players we have here."

If Kraft needs more to be excited about for the team's future, he already has it in mind, noting the Patriots have two first-round picks and two more in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

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