Rob Gronkowski claims no elaborate plan with Tom Brady to leave Patriots
Rumors surrounding former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski’s retirement status seemed to pop up nearly every other week during the 2019 NFL season.
Despite all the noise, however, “Gronk” never once suggested he had a desire to return to the gridiron. But that changed when Tom Brady decided to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March.
Shortly after the Buccaneers inked Brady, Gronkowski said he was coming out of retirement. The Buccaneers subsequently swung a deal to acquire the All-Pro tight end from the New England Patriots, reuniting Gronkowski with his longtime quarterback.
Was there collusion involved in Brady and Gronk teaming up in Tampa Bay. Not according to Gronkowski (via WEEI):
“No, no that actually was really never the case,” he said. “As a player, you always want to see what it’s like somewhere else. [I] thought of that before definitely after playing nine years in the NFL and also thought about it when I came out of retirement. This is an opportunity to go see what it’s like somewhere else, to go see what it’s like in the NFL on another squad. There’s so many players that bounce around on so many different teams. I loved my time in New England, no doubt about it. But it was another opportunity that presented. But no, we never really ever talked about that before. It kind of just happened. [With] my retirement and him hitting free agency, it kind of just lined up like that.”
On the one hand, Patriots fans will probably be skeptical of Gronkowski’s assertion that things “lined up” in that fashion.
At the same time, New England did attempt to trade Gronk to the Detroit Lions in 2018, though the tight end himself said at the time he would not play for another quarterback other than Brady.
Regardless, the Brady era is over in New England. The Patriots are hoping the Cam Newton era will be just as successful.