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Wednesday Patriots Notes: Robert Kraft, Rob Gronkowski, Nate Ebner

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The 2011-2012 NFL season was an emotional roller coaster for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. While the NFL and the NFLPA were in crucial stage of lockout negotiations, Kraft helped bring the two sides together and played a key factor as to why we had football last season.

All the while, his sweetheart and wife Myra Kraft was in the final stages of her life after several years of battling cancer. Before she ultimately passed away at the age of 68, her final wishes to her husband was to go and do his part to make sure there would be football in 2011. With his wife's wishes at heart, Kraft did just that. He saved football.

With his courageous efforts during last season, Kraft has been nominated by the Pro Football Writers of America for the Halas award, an award that goes to the NFL person (player, coach, owner, etc.) that persevered through personal problems off the field and succeeded at a high level. He, along with Browns LB D'Qwell Jackson, 49ers QB Alex Smith and Lions QB Matthew Stafford are the other nominees. The PFWA had this to say about Mr. Kraft:

Lost his wife, Myra, to a battle with cancer on July 20. Kraft played an instrumental role in resolving the NFL's collective bargaining dispute and shuttled back and forth between labor talks and his wife's hospital bed throughout the spring and summer. His Patriots advanced to their sixth Super Bowl in his tenure as owner.


If you didn't already know it before, we all got to see the lighter more playful side to tight end Rob Gronkowski. Coupled with his elite play at tight end on the field in 2011, Gronk evolved into quite the personality in the Patriots locker room. Chad Ochocinco esk (before he came to the Patriots).

Whether it was his partying after the Super Bowl loss to the Giants or his incorrect Spanish grammar, he was always seemed to find himself in the New England limelight. It turns out that "Party Gronk" is stepping out once again.

On Wednesday, it was announced that the Patriots' 22-year old tight end will take part in a new FOX celebrity dating show called 'The Choice', which is set to air on June 7. Gronkowski isn't the only NFL personality on the show, as Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndanukong Suh and former NFL defensive tackle Warren Sapp will also be on the show. Here is a little more about what Gronk is getting himself into:

The show involves a blind matchmaking process in which the contestants will be seated in spinning chairs to hear pitches from non-celebrity participants seeking to go on a date. If the celebs like what they hear, they can push a button to signify their interest in taking the participant up on the date, without ever having seen their potential love interest.


Even though the Patriots deviated from their normal draft strategy this year by trading up for two pass rushers in the first round, there was still some head scratching, Bill Belichick like picks that were made. Tavon Wilson was one, Nate Ebner the other.

Ebner, the team's sixth round pick out of the Ohio State University, wasn't on a lot of our radars, but was of particular interest to Belichick. Ebner played safety for the Buckeyes, but played rugby for them also. His unique background in the intense sport of rugby caught the eye of not only Belichick, but former Patriots linebacker and one of Ebner's coaches, Mike Vrabel. As a former Pat, Vrabel believes that Ebner can be a successful NFL player:

"He's got the ability to run at a high rate of speed and move and bend without slowing down," said Vrabel. "He can run through traffic without losing speed. Guys that cover kicks and maintain their speed in traffic are what you're looking for."