After a turbulent offseason, Rob Gronkowski’s future with the New England Patriots is looking much clearer.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport confirmed via sources Sunday morning that the Patriots “engaged in trade talks” involving Gronkowski this offseason and had “several interested parties.” At one point, Rapoport reported, it looked like a deal would be done to send the star tight end out of town.
According to Rapoport, that’s when Gronkowski himself intervened.
“But when Gronkowski learned of his new reality, he strongly resisted,” Rapoport wrote. “He informed the Patriots that he would rather step away from football and retire than play for another team, coach or quarterback. He told people close to him that he only wants to catch passes from Tom Brady.”
New England honored Gronkowski’s wish; after an “in-person” meeting with the tight end, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, Gronk agreed to return to the team after briefly mulling retirement this offseason. He then signed a reworked contract to add $4.3 million in incentives and bonuses for the 2018 season.
That’s obviously a great sign for the Patriots that the best tight end in the game doesn’t want to play anywhere else. Per Rapoport, though, the team still considers the 29-year-old “year-to-year” due to the potential of him retiring. But as long as he’s suiting up, it looks like it will be in a Patriots uniform.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images