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Report: Roger Goodell won't be sitting in Robert Kraft's suite for Patriots season opener

Alex Reimer
September 07, 2017 - 12:07 pm

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell enjoyed a cozy seat in Robert Kraft’s box when he visited Gillette Stadium for the Patriots’ preseason opener last month. But when he arrives to Foxborough for the season opener Thursday, he’ll be situated somewhere else.

ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reports the commish won’t be a guest in the owner’s box when the Patriots raise their fifth Super Bowl banner prior to kick-off. “Unlike the preseason, Goodell will not be sitting in Robert Kraft’s box. A league source told me Mr. Kraft has moved on from Deflategate, but the fan base has not,” Paolantonio said on ESPN.

The report was later confirmed by Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy on “Kirk & Callahan” Thursday. Barstool Sports plans to hand out 70,000 Goodell clown towels before game time. 

Goodell has been in the Boston area this week, dedicating a playground in Brighton on Wednesday. Josh Kraft, president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, was on hand for the event.

Robert Kraft has kept up a professional relationship with Goodell, despite his misgivings of the way Deflategate was handled. In a recent interview with the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian, the Patriots owner says he separates his personal feelings from business dealings.

“I want to do what’s in the best interest of the team. And so therefore having a professional, good working relationship, doing what’s in the best interest of the league is in the best interest of the Patriots,: Kraft explained. “What happened is yesterday’s news. The good part of that is people from the league are coming to the opening game, celebrating our Super Bowl championship.”

Goodell, for his part, doesn't appear concerned about the fan reaction. "Fans are passionate and they are loyal, you expect that, and you want that. That is what is great about our game. Patriots fans are going to show that loyally tonight I’m sure," he said on FS1 Thursday.