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Patriots' Robert Kraft: Vladimir Putin stole my Super Bowl ring

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

Vladimir Putin has something the Vikings, Bills, Eagles and Bengals don't have. (USATSI)
Vladimir Putin has something the Vikings, Bills, Eagles and Bengals don't have. (USATSI)

In Mother Russia, stealing Super Bowl rings is sign of a good president.

Back in 2005 Patriots owner Robert Kraft was in Russia when a funny thing happened: Russian president Vladimir Putin stole his $25,000 Super Bowl XXXIX ring. Actually for the past eight years, Kraft had let everyone believe he gave the ring to Putin as a gift, but the truth came out this week: Putin stole it -- or took it without asking if 'stole' is too strong of a word for you.

"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 at an event this week, via the New York Post. "I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out."

Kraft might have helped America dodge World War III because instead of going after the ring, Kraft let Putin keep it -- at the insistence of the White House. Yes, someone at the White House called Kraft and insisted he let Putin keep the ring.

"It would really be in the best interest of US-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present," Kraft said he was told on the White House call. "I really didn't [want to]. I had an emotional tie to the ring, it has my name on it. 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.'"

Like any true Patriot, Kraft did what was best for his country and in this case that meant pretending that the Russian president didn't steal his Super Bowl ring. After the talk with the White House, Kraft released a statement saying the ring was a gift, "I decided to give him the ring as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and the leadership of President Putin," Kraft's 2005 statement said.

As for the ring itself, the New York Post notes that it is reportedly being kept in the Kremlin Library. Information we're passing along just in case you're ever in Russia, near the Kremlin Library and want to get on Robert Kraft's good side.

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