TAMPA — The passing of Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer hit Robert Kraft particularly hard.
The owner of the Patriots had grown close to Malcolm and other members of the Glazer family since 1995, when the Bucs were sold for a then-record $192 million, five months after the death of Hugh Culverhouse.
“Malcolm was a very special man,’’ said Kraft, who boasts three Super Bowl rings since purchasing the Patriots in 1994. “We had dinner with he and (wife) Linda many times. He was someone who was a great fixer. He could go into any sick situation and it turned around.’’
Kraft and Glazer were often seen socializing at league functions and both men added soccer teams to their business portfolio. The Glazer family owns Premier League power Manchester United while Kraft, a founding investor in Major League Soccer, owns the New England Revolution.
“Malcolm didn’t think by the book,’’ Kraft said. “He was someone who was very creative and whatever he got involved with got better.’’
Kraft assumed control of the Patriots only one year before Glazer was named owner of the Bucs, who had a legacy of losing while playing in outdated Tampa Stadium.
“That was a tough area, that franchise, and what went on down there before they took over,’’ said Kraft. “They won a Super Bowl and made the playoffs five of six years (1997-2002), so it’s pretty special.’’