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Patriots owner Kraft proud of his team's conduct, legacy

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Don't expect to hear the New England Patriots use an expletive to describe an opponent.

That's not his team's style, owner Robert Kraft said.

"I don't want to speak to how other people do things or be judgmental about what motivates other people," Kraft said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. "But stylistically, I think we do things a little bit different than the folks we're playing this weekend."

That would be coach Rex Ryan and the trash-talking New York Jets, who visit Gillette Stadium for an AFC Divisional Playoff Game on Sunday.

Ryan tossed some verbal barbs at Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the past week, and Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartieadded to the static Tuesday by using an expletive to describe Brady. Cromartie said Wednesday he didn't regret what he said because "that's how I feel about it."

Speaking slowly and calmly in his office, Kraft drew the distinction between his Patriots and the Jets.

"I'm proud of the way the team is conducting itself right now," he said. "We're trying to let our actions speak when we play."

Brady reacted Wednesday to the comment Cromartie made to the New York Daily News by saying, "I've been called worse." Other New England players and coach Bill Belichick said they're just focusing on Sunday's game.

So is Kraft.

"I desperately want to win this game and I'd want to win it no matter who (the opponent is)," he said. "I'm into legacy, and in '07, we came close to doing something that I don't think will ever be done."

The Patriots were 18-0 that season but lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants 17-14 on a last-minute touchdown pass.

"It wasn't meant to be," Kraft said.

He called football "a cruel business" in which a field of 12 playoff teams is whittled down. One loss, and a team's season is over.

The Patriots have the NFL's best record at 14-2 this season after winning their last eight regular-season games, a streak that started after a surprising 34-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns, who finished 5-11.

"No one would have predicted that," Kraft said.

He noted that three of the four home teams in last weekend's wild-card round lost, with only the Seattle Seahawks winning in front of their fans.

"You never know," Kraft said, "so I'm always a little uneasy. ... We want to win very badly this weekend. The style of people from New England is to try to let our actions speak on Sunday at 4:30 and not have a lot of blather and say things that, in some ways, take away from the game."

Kraft suggested, though, that the vocal buildup to a game between two fierce rivals should help the television ratings.

"But," Kraft said, "in the end there's a lot of little kids watching. There's a lot of people who look up to us, and so I think we've got to walk on a higher plane. But what's right for some people to get motivated, I don't want to be judgmental of what's right for them. Our style is to let our actions speak louder."

What if an expletive was an appropriate description of an opponent?

"Even if it was true," he said, "it wouldn't be our style."

And, in Brady's case, Kraft said, "I happen to feel it's untrue."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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