Rob Gronkowski should count himself lucky that he’s one of the top three tight ends in the league, or else he might be on his way out of New England.
After a promising start to his career and a rookie season that put him on pace to crush receiving records among tight ends, Gronkowski has seen his career backslide due to nagging injuries and off-the-field antics. Reports have now arisen that coach Bill Belichick, who is notorious for keeping players on a short leash, and the Patriots brass are getting fed up with Gronkowski.
The troubles were on display again this week. Rob Gronkowski was part of a question and answer session event at a bar, which afterward turned into a dance party. One of the people dancing was an Asian man wearing a Gronkowski jersey, and when Rob handed the microphone to the man he called him Leslie Chow, after the Asian character in the movie The Hangover.
Rob then made another off-color joke, saying: “They told me he could only cook fried rice.”
Gronkowski would apologize and assure people that he is not racist, but it was not the kind of distraction the team needed going into a key Monday Night Football matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
The incident came after Gronkowski missed the first seven weeks of the 2013 season after having off-season surgery. The team had hinted that he could be back sooner, but reports said Gronkowski’s inner circle of friends and family advised that he hold out and not risk further injury. This created tension between Rob Gronkowski and his camp and the Patriots.
The Patriots have been known to cut ties quickly with players who bring distractions. The team traded Randy Moss in 2010 amid reports that he had become a distraction in the locker room, and the team cut Aaron Hernandez just before he was charged with murder.
While its likely that Rob Gronkowski will remain on the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick may be reining in the young superstar a bit more.