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Jonathan Kraft: Seeing Tom Brady Treated Unfairly 'Eats At Us Greatly'

BOSTON (CBS) -- Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft joined Marc Bertrand for the first time of the 2016 NFL season prior to Thursday night's preseason opener at Gillette Stadium, and not surprisingly, the conversation was steered toward the four-game suspension for Tom Brady.

"I think I want to start by saying Tom Brady is exceptional," Kraft said. "We've talked about it a lot, but he's an exceptional human being. From our perspective, he's the type of professional athlete that you want to celebrate, hold up as an example, not only to other players in the league but hold up to kids that are playing the game, and just as somebody you want to model your life off of, not only as a professional athlete but how he is as a father to his children, a husband, a son to his parents, a brother to his sisters. He is as good of a human being as you can get. And I think as I've told you before, if Tom was a lot younger and let's say he wasn't a football player but was the exact same guy and he married my daughter, I'd think my daughter had married the greatest guy in the world. He's exceptional.

"So for us, seeing him treated him in a way that we don't perceive to be fair eats at us greatly. And there's still a tremendous amount of, there's frustration around how the pure facts of science and lack of any type of tangible, hard evidence that certain people can look at those circumstances and then try to taint him or his legacy without that type of evidence. And that will always be a frustration that spurs anger here. Not having him play on the field, there will be an emptiness and you really feel for Tom, because you know how badly he wants to be out there."

As for Brady's ultimate decision to drop the DeflateGate appeal and accept the suspension, Kraft didn't divulge details of how that decision came about.

"Tom's a very wise, smart, thoughtful person, and everybody in this building wanted to support Tom with whatever he felt was the right thing for Tom," Kraft said.

Kraft was also asked about the lingering pain of the team losing last year in Denver in the AFC Championship Game.

"Losing in the Super Bowl is worse, but losing in the AFC Championship Game is a tough pill to swallow. I think the thing that was most frustrating as you reflect back on that game and the days and weeks after, was the fact that we clearly were in a very hostile place -- I think as hostile a place as you can go and play. And we didn't play our best game of the year and yet we still, I think because of the leadership of Tom Brady and some of our key guys on defense, as the clock's running down we're a two-point conversion away from what could have been ... I don't think you could have painted a more difficult scenario in terms of all the factors, and we were that close to tying the game and taking it into overtime. The thing that does give you solace -- I mean, that burns you in your stomach because you know just that if just things had been a little different, you were going to the Super Bowl again -- but I think the hallmark of Bill Belichick teams and the way this team has really been ever since we've come to Gillette is that we fight. We always fight. And you're never out of a game. So that was a good thing to take away from it, that the heart of the team is still there. And I think the defense did such an amazing job in the second half of that game. Hopefully we get a chance to get back there this year, but there's a long way to go between now and then."

Listen to the full interview below:

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