New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski — affectionately known by fans and teammates as simply Gronk — was reportedly so bothered by the prospect of being traded away from his current team that he threatened an early retirement, according to The Bleacher Report. Apparently, the Patriots were already embroiled in high-level talks in consideration of trading Gronkowski away for several other top prospects but were stopped in their tracks when Gronk found out about it and immediately acted to prevent any such possibility.
As Boston.com reports, Gronkowski apparently said that he would not be willing to play for anyone but the Patriots and that he didn’t want to catch any touchdowns that weren’t being passed along by key quarterback Tom Brady. Boston.com quotes NFL Network analyst Ian Rapoport as reiterating this news, relaying Gronkowski’s apparently firm wishes.
“What I am told is that Gronkowski stopped those talks and said he would rather step away from the game — would rather retire — than play for anyone else besides the Patriots, besides coach Bill Belichick, besides the quarterback Tom Brady… He said he did not want to catch touchdowns from anyone besides Brady.”
Gronkowski’s clear position immediately caused all trade talks and speculation surrounding as much to cease. It was then that Gronkowski and his representative agent, Drew Rosenhaus, collaborated in a meeting with New England Patriots brass in order to hammer out a new deal in lieu of any trade. The two sides agreed to a modified contract as August drew to a close, and guaranteed that the tight end would see action with his favored team for the next season.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 9, 2018
It appears extremely likely that Gronk will finish out the remainder of his active football career with the Patriots, with Rapoport suggesting as much during an on-air panel discussion.
“It does guarantee now Gronkowski will be a member of the Patriots for the balance of his career,” Rapoport said Sunday.
Following their Super Bowl defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles in the previous season, Gronkowski honestly and earnestly considered an early retirement, according to The Washington Post. Given his numerous injuries over the course of a career that has spanned nearly a decade — all eight years of his NFL stint having been served with the Patriots — it appeared to be a credible outcome that Gronkowski would hang up his jersey and end his professional career on a high, but bittersweet note.
It was not to be, much to the relief of die-hard Pats fans. Gronkowski and Tom Brady have been an indispensable team and a fulcrum of the New England line-up’s success. According to NFL.com, Gronk has served up some killer statistics with the Patriots — responsible for catching 474 passes and gaining 7, 179 yards, with a career total of 76 touchdowns.