Either Russian president Vladimir Putin is a much bigger NFL fan that anyone thought, or he moonlights as a jewel thief. According to a report from the New York Post, Putin stole a Super Bowl ring from New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft during a meeting in St. Petersburg in 2005.
Worth $25,000, Kraft originally said he gave the ring to Putin as a present, but he revealed to the crowd at the Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence dinner that that was not the case.
“I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring,’ ” Kraft said. “I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
Kraft wanted the ring back, but the office of then-U.S. president George W. Bush wanted to avoid an international incident and asked Kraft to say the ring was a present.
“I really didn’t [want to]. I had an emotional tie to the ring, it has my name on it," Kraft said. "I don’t want to see it on eBay. There was a pause on the other end of the line, and the voice repeated, ‘It would really be in the best interest if you meant to give the ring as a present.’ ”
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The 4.94-carat ring is now in the Kremlin library, according to the Post, and it doesn’t appear like Kraft will get it back anytime soon. He does have two other Super Bowl rings to fall back on.
This is the second time Kraft has made headlines this week. After the Patriots signed Tim Tebow, Kraft praised the quarterback for more than his skills on the field.
“Having him as part of our franchise is great but he has to compete just like anyone else,” Kraft said to the Boston Globe. “We’re blessed to have a lot of people like that, but the fact that spirituality is so important to him is very appealing to me.”