Krafts to fans: 'Confident' deal will come

Updated: March 14, 2011, 10:13 PM ET
By Mike Reiss |

New England Patriots season-ticket holders were mailed a letter from owner Robert Kraft and president Jonathan Kraft on Monday.

"We know that many season-ticket holders are feeling frustrated by our inability to finalize a deal with the players' union," part of the letter read. "We apologize for any role we played in that. Please know that we are working diligently to assure that NFL operations get back to 'normal' as soon as possible."

The purpose of the letter was to communicate directly with season-ticket holders regarding Friday's expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between NFL players and owners. On that day, the NFL Players Association filed paperwork to decertify and owners later locked out the players.

The Krafts wrote to season-ticket holders that entering the mediation process they were "very optimistic" an agreement could be reached if both sides were committed to negotiating. The letter detailed part of a proposal that the league presented the players' union last week that they felt was "fair and benefited both parties" and that owners "hoped would serve as a basis to continue negotiating in good faith toward a final agreement."

"While disappointed by [the union's] action to decertify and file a lawsuit, we remain confident that an agreement will be reached and that the 2011 season will be played," the Krafts said. "The NFL, the owners, and the New England Patriots organization remain committed to collective bargaining and reaching a new agreement with the players' union."

Last month, season-ticket holders had received their invoice for 2011 tickets, which is due by March 31.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the CBA, the Patriots informed season-ticket holders that they will be given a full refund for any cancelled preseason or regular-season home games, that refunds for missed games will be paid no later than 30 days after the final determination of how many games will be played during the 2011 season, and that interest calculated at an annual rate of 1 percent will be paid on refunds.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter