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Patriots owner doesn’t think his relationship with Roger Goodell ‘will ever be the same’

Deflategate left the New England executive livid.

NFL: Super Bowl XLIX-New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Kraft used to invite Roger Goodell to parties at his palatial home in Brookline, Mass. After Deflategate, the Patriots owner isn’t sure he’ll ever see the NFL commissioner in New England again.

Kraft sat down with the New York Daily News’ Gary Myers to open up about his fractured relationship with the league’s top executive. He told the veteran reporter the way the NFL handled the investigation and its subsequent punishments left him “livid” and fractured his relationship with Goodell, possibly forever.

“I don’t know if it will ever be the same, but in order to do what is best for the Patriots franchise long term, I believe it is best to compartmentalize and move on,” he told Myers. “Like our quarterback, I am trying to remain positive and look to the future rather than dwell on the past. As a native New Englander, that’s easier said than done, but I am doing my best to put the matter behind me.”

Goodell came under fire after handing down a harsh suspension based on shaky evidence of deliberate wrongdoing from the organization. Despite reasonable doubt New England’s footballs had lost air pressure in the cold of Foxborough thanks to the ideal gas law and a lack of direct evidence connecting Brady to the lost air, he fined the Patriots $1 million and forced the franchise to forfeit its first-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft and fourth-rounder in the 2017 draft. Tom Brady was suspended four games, a sentence he served out last fall after a protracted series of appeals.

That punishment seemed extraordinarily harsh, especially after the Giants’ complaints about the Steelers’ use of deflated footballs were swept away with little drama during the 2016 season.

Kraft and Goodell may have an awkward reunion on Sunday. If the Patriots win Super Bowl LI, the commissioner will be tasked with handing the Lombardi Trophy over to his former friend. The result could create the standard bearer for the awkward handshake hall of fame, but the man behind New England’s renaissance didn’t care to comment on the possibility — at least before Sunday’s showdown with the the Falcons

“I’m not going to speak to that,” Kraft said. “I hope we do win, then we can talk about it.”

Monday’s interview was not the first time Kraft expressed his disappointment with the league in the wake of the seemingly never-ending scandal. He bluntly told reporters at a 2015 training camp press conference “I was wrong to put my faith in the league” after it became clear Brady’s suspension would be upheld after his first appeal.