With offseason workouts behind them and training camp still more than a month away, the New England Patriots are currently enjoying their summer vacation. For eight current members of the team and seven Patriots alumni, this break from football includes a trip across the globe that started earlier this week: for the third time, team owner Robert Kraft has invited a group of players to join him in Israel.
The journey was dubbed Touchdown in Israel III, and the traveling party includes Patriots offensive linemen David Andrews, Joe Thuney and Isaiah Wynn, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, special teamers Nate Ebner, Brandon King and Stephen Gostkowski, and assistant coach and former linebacker Jerod Mayo. Franchise greats such as Ty Law, Drew Bledsoe and Vince Wilfork are also part of the group.
“I hope it’s going to turn out to be one of the greatest weeks in your life. This is over a hundred times I’ve gone and the first time I went, on my honeymoon with my sweetheart, it just changed my life,” Kraft told his travel companions — a group of around 60 people in total — at the beginning of the trip. “This represents the entire history of our family’s involvement [with the Patriots] and we’re really excited.”
For Kraft, the trip will also include getting honored by the state of Israel: on Thursday, the six-time Super Bowl champion will receive the Genesis Prize, dubbed as the ‘Jewish Nobel Prize.’ The award which is donated at $1.0 million gets handed out once a year to recognize philanthropy and commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. Kraft will become the sixth person to receive the award since its inception in 2014.