Robert Kraft has chosen a new verb.
TMZ Sports: "Are we going to keep Tom in New England, Bob?!?"
Kraft: "We plan to!"
Kraft's answer obviously doesn't guarantee anything in the Patriots' negotiations with Brady, who will become a free agent March 18.
But saying the Patriots "plan" to re-sign Brady is a step up from the comments Kraft made earlier this month, in which the Patriots owner said his "hope and prayer" is that Brady stays in New England.
"He has the freedom to decide what he wants to do and what's in his own best personal interest," Kraft added at the time.
Brady said in his end-of-season press conference it was "hopefully unlikely" he would retire this offseason, seemingly putting the pressure on Kraft and the Patriots to make him a quality contract offer.
The 42-year-old since has confirmed he'll play in 2020 but has avoided stating any explicit desire to return to New England.
Kraft now has no problem stating that desire, signaling that Brady is expected to be the Patriots' top free-agent priority in March.
Robert Kraft moves past 'hope' in latest comment on Tom Brady's future originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston