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New England Patriots Links 3/22/11 - Belichick Speaks Out Against Proposed Kickoff Rule: Not Good For The Game

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Mike Reiss caught the usually tight-lipped Bill Belichick speaking out on a game that he is passionate about, calling the extensive rule proposal "complicated" before expressing his concern with what would happen if it was adopted.

"I don't like the idea of eliminating the kickoff from the game," he said, unconvinced of the safety risks that were cited as the reason for the proposal by the league's competition committee, and convinced that every team would simply boom the ball into the end zone for a touchback.

"I think it's one of the most exciting plays in football," he continued. "It looks like the competition committee is trying to eliminate that play. I don't know if that's really good for the game."

Mike Reiss reports Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said this morning that the team has not had any layoffs as a result of the NFL's lockout.

"We believe there is going to be a season in 2011 and we're preparing for it," he said. "We need our entire staff to be focused on preparing for the 2011 season and you can't do that if you're laying people off."

Mike Reiss offers Jonathan Kraft's response to Matt Light's remarks on how he was disappointed that Robert Kraft was absent form the last week of the negotiations.

"I respect Matt and I appreciate Matt's comments," he said. "We do a lot of things other than just the New England Patriots, and something that is particularly important to Robert is the economy of Massachusetts and job creation -- not just for people in the football industry but across the Commonwealth. This is a trade mission that had been worked on for a long time. Israel is a real center of high tech and a lot of Israeli companies are choosing to pick Massachusetts as their U.S. headquarters. This is about solidifying that and having more companies feel comfortable to come to Massachusetts and create jobs in Massachusetts. It was something he personally had been working on for a long time and he wasn't going to give that up."

Kraft said his father "helped put the whole thing together and it was something very personal to him."

"That being said, I can tell you he didn't miss a [NFL] call, he didn't miss an email, he was up until all hours of the night in Israel and he was intimately involved with what was going on," Kraft said.