Most New England Patriots fans feel one of two ways about the Tom Brady free agency saga: completely stressed out about the quarterback’s looming decision or desperately wanting it to just be over already.
Not Rob Gronkowski.
While Gronkowski and former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light on Tuesday night hosted “Race To The Finish Line,” a fundraiser for the Light Foundation and the GronkNation Youth Foundation Boston Marathon teams, the two found themselves talking about their former teammate’s big decision. And although Light took more of a business-like approach to what will be Brady’s first time hitting the market as a free agent, Gronk couldn’t help but joke about the situation — as only Gronk could.
“… It does make it fun,” he said during the fundraiser, per NBC Sports Boston. “I understand people stress out over it. But if you look at it the other way, it’s kind of fun.
“He’s going out there one day and he’s going to another team the next day. Man, it’s crazy. I was hoping he’d go to the XFL with the ‘He Hate Me’ on the back (of his jersey).”
Of course, Gronkowski is referencing Rod Smart, who made a bold entrance to the old version of the XFL back in 2001 when he gave himself the nickname “He Hate Me” and plastered it on the back of his No. 30 Las Vegas Outlaws jersey. When reporters asked about his decision, Smart pointed at the players walking by and shouted, “He hate me! And he hate me! And he hate me!”
Needless to say, the moniker stuck.
Sure, Brady’s impressive stint in New England has helped fuel a whole fan base rooting against the Patriots. And with the return of the XFL immediately following Super Bowl LIV in February, Gronk’s joke wasn’t entirely out of context.
But, obviously, Brady will have plenty of options awaiting him in the NFL. A recent report indicated there currently are eight teams monitoring the quarterback, four of which would sign him right now. One ex-NFL quarterback weighed in on which team would be the best option for Brady should he choose to leave New England, while others are evaluating the likelihood of the Patriots drafting a quarterback in the first round.
Brady will become a free agent for the first time in his NFL career March 18, with the legal tampering period beginning two days prior.