New England Patriots

98.5 The Sports Hub staff report

Speaking to Sean Hannity on Fox News Tuesday night, Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed optimism that the 2020 NFL season will start on time – perhaps even with fans in attendance.

Kraft was asked about what may need to happen to successfully reopen stadiums while allowing fans to attend. He ensured that the safety of the players and team staffers remains the first priority as far as reopening team facilities, but acknowledged that fans are part of what the league is preparing to do in the fall.

“We’re preparing to hopefully play football this fall,” Kraft said. “We’re working hand-in-hand with our union, we believe we’ve developed protocols that allow us to do it in a safe way, looking out first for our players and our personnel and then, of course, the fans. I believe we can do it.”

Patriots owner Robert Kraft is confident about starting the 2020 NFL season on time. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

“I believe we can do it.” –Patriots owner Robert Kraft on starting the 2020 NFL season on time. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh sounded less optimistic about the return of sports in Boston, in particular.

“As much as I would love to watch our pro teams play right now, we really have to put the health and safety of Boston residents first,” Walsh said during a Tuesday press briefing. “As I said before, if pro team sports come back they’ll be very different than what we’re used to.

“I don’t think, right now, we’re in a place where we’ll have fans watching and cheering from the stands. We also have to think about the health of the players and the players traveling from other places.”

The NFL does not plan to allow NFL teams to reopen their facilities to players and coaches until all 32 are allowed to do so in accordance with state and local laws. Under Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-phase reopening plan, Gillette Stadium would fall under the category of a “large venue” as far as fully reopening. But it’s unclear where a location like the Patriots front office would qualify.

Watch Hannity’s interview with Kraft in the video above.

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