Rob Gronkowski didn’t want to go anywhere this offseason — especially Detroit, it appears.
The New England Patriots were in “deep discussions” with the Lions to trade their All-Pro tight end to Detroit during the week of the 2018 NFL Draft, and the two sides came close to completing a “blockbuster deal,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning, citing league sources.
But the trade never went down — because Gronkowski didn’t want it to, according to Schefter.
“When Gronkowski discovered he could be traded to Detroit that week, he threatened to retire rather than go to the Lions, according to sources,” Schefter wrote. “Gronkowski even declined to return the Lions’ calls, despite the fact that former Patriots executive Bob Quinn and (defensive coordinator) Matt Patricia were leading the Detroit organization.”
Gronk’s veto was followed by a meeting with the Patriots in which the 29-year-old squashed the retirement talk and announced his intention to play in New England this season, per Schefter.
Rumors that Gronkowski shut down a trade by threatening retirement surfaced earlier this month, and Schefter’s report appears to confirm that team was Detroit.
The timing of this report is no coincidence, either: The Patriots are taking on the Lions in Detroit on Sunday night, so this is a friendly reminder that Gronk could be on the other sideline if his desire to catch passes from Tom Brady wasn’t so strong.
UPDATE (11:05 a.m. ET): Apparently Gronk’s disinterest in the Motor City wasn’t personal.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images