Rob Gronkowski still is a member of the New England Patriots despite several trade rumors surfacing last Friday.
The biggest bombshell rumor came from Boston-based freelance reporter Adam Kurkjian, who reported, according to multiple sources, that Bill Belichick wanted to trade Gronkowski and had offers on the table from both the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers but Patriots owner Robert Kraft nixed a potential deal. Quarterback Tom Brady threatened to retire if New England traded its star tight end, per Kurkjian.
The rumor obviously raised eyebrows given how wild it seemed, and Patriots vice president of media relations Stacey James subsequently denied the report. But Kurkjian defended his reporting Monday on Boston’s airwaves while appearing on both WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” and 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich.”
“I was first tipped off that something was going down Thursday, and I started to get very specific information on Friday,” Kurkjian explained on “Kirk and Callahan,” per WEEI.com. “The first piece of information I got was Brady was willing to retire over something like this. It turned out to be a trade with Rob Gronkowski. I asked around; I didn’t believe any of this. I was not looking to break any of this, because I didn’t believe any of it until I started asking around. When you get a tip like this, you have to be very careful, because the information is very sensitive.
“I asked around, I narrowed down the scope of the information I was given into the tweet, and I worded the tweet very carefully, because that’s what I was able to get. When I took the information to Stacey — only the information I took to Stacey was in the tweet, word-for-word — he denied it. I think what people don’t understand here is they think that’s where it stops. It does not. I took it to one more person. This person has as much access into the information as Stacey, and you’re just going to have to trust me on that. … This person confirmed everything.”
Kurkjian, formerly of the Boston Herald, clarified shortly after his initial tweet Friday that everything didn’t unfold in one day, so perhaps the Patriots really considered trading Gronkowski at one point. NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran reported the Patriots had Gronkowski trade talks earlier in the offseason.
The details of Kurkjian’s report sent social media into a frenzy Friday, though. And Kurkjian insisted Monday that he’s received several confirmations in the days since turning the internet on its head and that one of his sources — “someone in the sports community” — has given him information in the past that has proved correct.
“I understand that a story like this comes out that a lot of people question my credibility. I understand that people aren’t going to believe me and stuff like this,” Kurkjian told “Toucher and Rich,” per CBS Boston. “But this was something that was too big to sit on. And I know what I have. And I’ve gotten confirmation after the fact, in terms of private messages from people.
“A lot of people have publicly denied what was in the tweet, but I’ve actually felt a lot better since then because the private things that I’ve gotten are like, ‘Hey man, you got this right.’ In fact somebody that was too afraid to talk to me about something else that I was working on reached out through an intermediary and said ‘Yeah, your guy got this one right.’”
In other words, believe him or don’t believe him, but Kurkjian isn’t backing down from his reporting.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images