Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Honors FB Jakob Johnson and Teases Special Announcement

According to team owner Robert Kraft, the Patriots will be announcing “something very special” on Wednesday. The only hint so far is it has something to do with fullback Jakob Johnson as Kraft mentioned it was also Johnson’s birthday tomorrow.

Kraft made a surprise appearing on Tuesday, joining Johnson for his scheduled media availability. Accompanied by a camera crew, Kraft awarded the fullback a game ball for becoming just the third player from the International Pathway Program to play 1,000 snaps in the NFL. Johnson, who is in his third NFL season, reached that milestone last week against the Bills.

Johnson first joined the Patriots via the NFL’s IPP and spent training camp in 2019 as a roster-exempt 91st player. At the beginning of his career, his outlook was not promising — something Kraft himself mentioned.

“A couple of years ago I remember a couple of coaches here talking about Jakob, saying, ‘He’s not very good.’ And look where he is today,” he said. “Look what he has done. He’s worked hard. He’s really gotten the respect of everyone. He’s had such progress.”

Johnson, who’s from Stuttgart, Germany, impressed during his first training camp and preseason, making the practice squad before eventually getting promoted to the active roster.

Kraft continued, “He came with an exempt roster spot, and I don’t think anybody would believe he’s come to the point he’s tome to today, where – I think he’s one of the best fullbacks in the whole NFL.” Kraft said, before presenting Johnson with the ball.

Given Kraft also spoke about the Patriots history of international players and playing in Europe, it would make sense that the pending announcement has something to do with football overseas. “For years, the NFL has been trying to expand to international markets, and we try to recruit international talent,” Kraft noted. “I love this program, especially over in Europe because since we’ve gone outside the U.S., we’re 3-0. So, I want to keep that happening.”

“In our history, dating back to the 70s we’ve had John Smith at kicker, then of course Sebastian Vollmer joined us and spent eight years, and now Jakob Johnson,” Kraft added.

Speaking specifically about Germany, Kraft said, “that’s one of the countries the NFL is trying to get to. I believe we have the largest fanbase here, and I think it’s because of Sebastian and [Johnson].”

As Kraft mentioned, Germany is in fact a target for the NFL. It’s been rumored that if and when that game happens, it would likely involved the Patriots due to their ties to the country. This could be the special announcement.