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Rob Gronkowski claims he had Buccaneers’ playbook before Patriots trade

Buccaneers, Rob Gronkowski

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers acquired previously retired tight end Rob Gronkowski in a trade with the New England Patriots shortly before the draft, and apparently, Gronkowski was prepared ahead of time.

During an appearance on Bud Light Seltzer’s “Drafterparty,” Gronkowski said that he had the Buccaneers’ playbook while he was still technically under contract with the Patriots:

“I was in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers playbook four weeks ago, and I wasn’t even on the team,” said Gronkowski.

I’m not sure Gronkowski realizes he may have just gotten himself and the Bucs in a rather sticky situation.

Here’s the thing: Gronk having Tampa Bay’s playbook is not actually a violation. The question is, how did he come into possession of the playbook?

If the Buccaneers provided the soon-to-be-31-year-old with the playbook while he was still under contract with New England and had discussions about him becoming a member of the team, that is tampering.

The Pats did not respond to a request for comment.

Of course, unless there are actual texts or e-mails between Gronkowski and Tampa Bay, it is going to be nearly impossible to prove that the Bucs broke any rules.

Either way, Gronkowski probably should have guarded his mouth or at least took a second to think about the potential ramifications of his statement before making it. But I guess Gronk will be Gronk.

The legendary pass-catcher, who began his NFL career in 2010, retired from the NFL after the 2018-19 campaign but elected to return not long after Brady decided to join the Buccaneers.