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Huddle: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is surrounded by admiring fans Monica Lavadinho and Danielle Brillante at The Rack recently.

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Pats have to Kraft a solution to QB controversy
by Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

New England Patriots quarterback cutie Tom Brady is enjoying the perks of being the team's No. 1 guy, but Brady did nothing against the St. Louis Rams to make anyone forget about Drew Bledsoe.

And with No. 11 medically cleared to play, the quarterback controversy rages on.

The critics, the pundits, the Bledsoe haters and defenders have all rung in. We've heard from fans, coach Bill Belichick - who said Brady remains the starter for the rest of the year unless something ``unforeseen'' happens - and various and sundry players. But there's one guy who hasn't said a peep - Bob Kraft.

Of course, there has been much speculation on where the owner stands on the quarterback issue. Much has been made of the fact that Kraft loves Drew like a son.

And Bob has been known to stick his nose into the coach's business before. (See Parcells, Bill.) But our pigskin spies swear that this time, Kraft is leaving the decision entirely up to Belichick.

``It's a football decision,'' said a source close to the owner. ``And as much as the media would like to think he does, Bob doesn't make football decisions.''

Well, actually that's not entirely true. We all know that Kraft enraged Parcells back in 1996 when he saw to it that the team drafted overwrought wide receiver Terry Glenn instead of the defensive lineman Parcells longed for.

But that was because, after a number of disastrous drafts, Kraft had become convinced that Parcells lacked a knack for ``grocery shopping.'' The owner has complete faith in Belichick and believes that after a number of bad years (See Carroll, Pete), the team is finally ``on the right track.''

And probably most important of all, with CMGI Field scheduled to open next season - and a lot of swish club seats still to sell - Kraft wants a winning team.

``The best guy will be on the field. The other one won't be,'' said Deep Backfield.

Still, some Pats insiders believe that when Bledsoe has put in the practice hours and is truly ready to play, it will be more difficult for Kraft to remain silent.

``The decision gets harder this week and depending on how Brady plays, even harder the week after,'' said an insider. ``If Brady starts to go downhill, it's hard to believe Kraft won't be clamoring for Belichick to play Drew.''

As always, do stay tuned.

Stolen friendship

Former Boring Broadsheet reporter Jamal Watson was ordered to pay $435.45 restitution and the case against him was continued without a finding for a year after he admitted to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty on charges of larceny, credit card fraud and receiving stolen property.

Watson, you may recall, was accused of stealing a wallet from his former co-worker and ex-friend, Boston Globe reporter David Abel, and using Abel's credit card to buy a Palm Pilot and some gasoline. The former Globie had claimed that he took the wallet because Abel ``owed'' him a Palm Pilot but Abel called the story ``a sick, sad and depraved lie.''

Last month, Watson swore to the Track that the allegations weren't true and said he hired an attorney to fight them. But last week, he went into Dorchester District Court and pretty much admitted everything in exchange for a lenient sentence.

``The case was continued for a year,'' said David Procopio, spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Ralph Martin. ``If Mr. Watson has no other cases that would bring him before the justice system, the case will be dismissed.''

We're so relieved.

Taste of Hub for Bubba

Ex-Prez Bill Clinton, who never met a meal he didn't like, high-tailed it to Olives last night to chow on Todd English's eats. Which is an enormous step-up from his favorite place: McDonald's!

Clinton, who was in town for a speech at Harvard and a Demmie do last night, was joined in a private room by a posse of 30 die-hard Dems like Mayor Tom Menino, Elaine and Gerry Schuster and his Vineyard host, Dick Friedman.

No word on who picked up the tab. But we can hazard a guess as to who didn't.

Side Tracks

Pre-stuffing stuff:

  • Vintage Supreme Mary Wilson and Herb Reed of the Platters fame feasted on giant lobsters at the Kowloon the other night. They were joined by Carel Stuycken aka ``Lurch'' of the ``Addams Family.'' Hope it wasn't all-you-can-eat!

  • Congrats to Braintree racquetball cutie Cliff Swain who took top honors in the Hilton U. S. Open Championships in Memphis over the weekend. Cliffie defeated John Ellis of Stockton, Calif., and is now Numero Uno on the International Racquetball Tour.

  • And finally, a round of applause please to L'Espalier chef Frank McClelland and his staff, who copped the prestigious Five Diamond Award from AAA. Ditto for the gang at the fab Four Seasons. The hotel won its 14th Five Diamond and its dining room, Aujourd'hui, copped its seventh.

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