New England Patriots fans appeared to get some good news Saturday night when ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reported that Rob Gronkowski is “pretty certain” to return for the 2018 season.
Darlington also noted that the relationship between Gronkowski and head coach Bill Belichick is strained and while it isn’t “irreconcilable,” it certainly appears the two have some issues that need to be worked out.
Darlington went on “SportsCenter” on Sunday and discussed the drama within the Patriots organization, noting that the bond between Gronkowski and Tom Brady is “as strong as ever,” but Gronkowski and Belichick definitely aren’t on the same page.
“I want to be clear here,” Darlington said. “This is not an irreconcilable situation. This is something where many around both people feel like time could ease this bit of disjointed nature between the two. But we’re talking about frustrations on both sides of the aisle here. For Gronkowski, he is just physically and mentally spent and doesn’t feel like much has changed this offseason to make him think that that’s going to be any different this coming year.
“That being said, like I mentioned, he is quote, ‘pretty certain’ he’ll come back as long as Brady’s committed,” Darlington continued. “Belichick is a little bit frustrated because he feels like Gronkowski’s not quote, ‘all in’ which is obviously a critical component to his blueprint. He has cited things to people close to him as nuanced as an Instagram post that Gronkowski posted about Danny Amendola signing with the Miami Dolphins, under which he said: “be free, be happy.” That didn’t exactly make Belichick very happy. He was reading the underlying message there. He wants to know that Gronkowski is all in.
“Guys, it is a fluid situation, but one that I believe can be rectified in the coming days, weeks and perhaps months.”
Time will tell if the strife between the two can subside, but it appears, at least for now, that Gronkowski plans to suit up in 2018.