Patriots 2004 Post Season Page
The Krafts host Super-Bling Party
Ring Ceremony Never Gets Old
Jerome Solomon/Boston Globe
BROOKLINE -- It may have been the third time in the past four years that the Patriots gathered to collect their Super Bowl rings at owner Robert Kraft's house, but the ritual never gets old.
Last night, the celebration was as fine as ever as the NFL champions were honored at a cocktail party and dinner, then awarded the 4.94-karat diamond rings.
Richard Seymour, a holdout from the team's three-day minicamp that ended Saturday, didn't miss the party. He arrived via a limo that he shared with teammate Rodney Harrison. Seymour enjoyed a long hug with Kraft, who greeted each of the approximately 250 guests at the front door.
''He RSVP'd he was coming," Kraft said. ''He's a terrific guy and someone who made a great contribution. So we're happy he's here."
Seymour, who did not show for the minicamp most likely because of a desire to renegotiate his contract, said it was important for him to be with his teammates last night.
''I know how to separate things, and I wanted to be here with my teammates and they wanted me here," Seymour said. ''I'm not discussing my current situation. I want to remain a professional, as I've always done."
Though he would not talk about whether he intends to report for training camp July 29, Seymour in a way disputed reports that said he was prepared to sit out the season.
''I haven't said anything and I remain that way," Seymour said. ''I'm speaking from the horse's mouth. So reports -- I've heard a lot of reports about I've said this, that, and the other -- but you're hearing it live here, right now: I've never said anything about anything, and that's the way I remain."
Seymour has two years remaining on the six-year contract he signed his rookie season. He has become one of the top defensive ends in the NFL, though his pay remains below that of other top linemen.
''I won't speak about my contract," Seymour repeated. ''I love the organization. I love the fans here in New England. I love my teammates; my teammates love me. This is a night of champions, and we're champions."
Linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who suffered a stroke in February, addressed his health after picking up his ring. ''I'm just taking my time making sure things are right," he said. ''Just living one day at a time right now."
Bruschi said he has no timetable for an announcement on whether he plans to play this season. ''The organization has been so supportive of me, I'm not pressured with any timetable," he said. ''My family and I are worried about my health, and we're just making sure I'm getting better and that's the only thing we're focusing on right now.
''Football is something I love and something I'll always want to do, but I've got to think about my wife and my son, and just make sure things are right."
Bruschi said he would rather not discuss what doctors have cleared him to do for workouts.
''It is odd not participating in the minicamp, but there are more important things and I've got to worry about those right now," he said.
With 124 diamonds, 20 more than the rings from the previous season, this year's rings are quite eye-catching. Twenty-one of the diamonds are around the Patriots logo, representing the team's winning streak that ended in the middle of last season, and there is a trio of Lombardi Trophies -- topped with marquise-cut diamonds on the centerpiece.
On one side of the ring, there is reference to each of the team's championships in '01, '03, and '04. On the other is the 24-21 score of the most recent Super Bowl victory over Philadelphia, as well as the team's 9-0 playoff mark since 2001.
According to Jostens, which has made 26 of the 39 Super Bowl rings, this year's is the heaviest ever at 4.06 ounces.
Before he got his jewelry, quarterback Tom Brady said he couldn't imagine the ring being any bigger than the previous ones. ''If they get any bigger, you'd have to wear it on your belt," he said.
The smallest is a size 6.5 pinkie ring, while running back Corey Dillon and defensive tackle Keith Traylor, who recently signed with Miami, ordered the largest -- size 17s.
Dillon was all smiles when Kraft greeted him just off the red carpet and said, ''It's been a long time coming, hasn't it?" The former Bengal played seven years in Cincinnati without appearing in a playoff game. ''This one is nice, I can't wait to see what the next one will look like," Dillon said.
''You can never take this experience for granted," linebacker Ted Johnson said. ''The rings are symbols of effort and accomplishment. Having three of those puts us in select company."
Former coordinators Charlie Weis, now the coach at Notre Dame, and Romeo Crennel, now the head man with the Cleveland Browns, also were on hand to celebrate the last gathering of the 2004-05 squad.
The Champs Visit the White House
President Congratulates Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots
3:35 P.M. EDT Watch Video
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Welcome. Well, back again. (Laughter.) I was thinking that Coach Belichick was so comfortable coming to the Rose Garden that he might just wear one of those designer sweatshirts. (Laughter.) I'm a little disappointed. (Laughter.) I'm glad to see you own a tie, though.
I want to welcome --
COACH BELICHICK: Is this a roast? (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. I want to welcome the Krafts back. Congratulations, once again. Obviously, this club has got fine ownership, and you know how to run a team. Welcome back. And, obviously, you know how to coach. I'm pretty impressed with the way you handle yourself. I think some of us involved in the political arena could -- could spend a little time getting tutelage on how to handle the mike like you do. (Laughter.)
I want to welcome members of my Cabinet who are here. Thank you for coming. Alfonso, I thought, like you're a Cowboy fan or something? What are you doing here, you know? (Laughter.)
The Secretary of Agriculture is with us. We appreciate so very much Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry. Welcome. Marty Meehan -- I'm glad you all are here. Thanks for coming. I'm surprised more of the delegation hasn't come, but, you know, Red Sox one week, Patriots the next -- it's getting to be old hat here. But glad you all are here.
Tedy Bruschi, it's good to see you. I congratulate you on showing such incredible courage on the field and off the field. There's a lot of people that were praying for you, I know. And I'm glad you're feeling good and I'm glad you're back. You look great. (Applause.)
I want to welcome all the staff, the coaches who are here. Last time I didn't pay much attention to the managers and the people passing out the equipment, so I'd like to pay special tribute to the people who do all the work in the locker room and probably never get recognized except by the players, who love you. So, welcome to the White House, and welcome to the Rose Garden.
I want to say a special welcome to all the Patriots fans from around the D.C. area. I see some from New Hampshire who have come, as well, and Boston, and you're welcome. Glad you're here. You're honoring a team that showed a lot of heart.
You know, the commentators would say, well, they're not the flashiest bunch, they're not the fanciest bunch, they just happen to be the best team. They're the team that showed that when you play together, when you serve something greater than yourself, you win.
I'm sorry your field goal kicker is not here. You're probably sorry you didn't have to use him this year to win. But I do wish Adam all the best with the birth of their second child. He has got an excused absence.
One of the things about this club is you set a lot of records. You know, in sports, they always talk about records are made to be broken. Let me talk about some of the records of the New England Patriots. In back-to-back championship seasons, you've won 34 games. That's a record. You've won nine straight playoff games, which ties a record. The coach has the best playoff record in league history. This is a club that has won 20 games in a row in the home park. If you're going to win 20 games, it's probably good to do it in your home stadium, you know. It tends to make the fans want to come back -- doesn't it, Marty?
I appreciate the inspiration you've shown for the region -- inspired the Red Sox. I think the Patriots have also inspired the Celtics. But whatever is happening in New England, it's a pretty strong sports record, anchored by the great New England Patriots, champs three out of four years.
And so, welcome back. We're glad you're here. I want to thank you for what you've done off the field. I did so the last time you were here, I want to do it again. I want to thank you for the importance that you've shown for education and literacy. I appreciate the example that you've set for kids. I want to thank you for working in youth football. I want to thank you for supporting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Massachusetts. There's nothing better than encouraging mentoring to help save a child's life. And as a pro football champion, you have an opportunity to do just that.
I appreciate Larry Izzo. He went to Rice, as I understand it. Is that right? Yes, Rice University, in Houston, Texas. Guess what he did? He went overseas, to the USO -- the Pat Tillman USO in Afghanistan. (Applause.) I want to thank you for doing that. Is it Izzo or "Eyezo?"
MR. IZZO: Izzo.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, if you're from Texas, you say "Eyezo," and if you're from -- (laughter.)
MR. IZZO: It sounds good to me.
THE PRESIDENT: If you're from Massachusetts, it's Izzo. At least I got Rice right. (Laughter.)
I also want to thank you all for going by Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center here in Washington. I think you saw firsthand the definition of courage when you saw those young soldiers who had been wounded that are working hard to overcome their injuries. I can assure you that your visit helped lift their spirits. There's nothing better than a Super Bowl champ encouraging somebody to continue to work hard to recover. And I want to, again, thank you for that. Thank you for your example.
I, once again, welcome you back. You know, I think I said last time there's a chance you'll be back. I wasn't sure about me. (Laughter.) I'm confident I'll be back next year -- (laughter) -- and the way you've been playing, there's a good chance you will be, too. Congratulations, and welcome. (Applause.)
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