New reports on the Patriots detail an incident from the 2017 season between Bill Belichick and Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots head coach reportedly “chastised” the Patriots tight end in front of the team, apparently stemming from his training at Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero’s TB12 Center.
Guregian reported in the Boston Herald on Sunday that early in the 2017 season, Belichick criticized Gronkowski in front of his teammates, with his being a TB12 client at the center of it. The tight end has appeared leaner in the past year since adopting more principles of the “TB12 Method” last season. That appears to be a focal point of an internal debate with the Patriots over how he should train.
NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran, who has been reporting extensively on the Patriots’ internal issues in the offseason, followed up Guregian’s report with a tweet saying Gronkowski was called out for “being ineffective” during camp, when he was “performing poorly.” He added that Gronk’s training change was the source of Belichick’s derision and contributed to the tight end’s “irritation” that lasted all season.
These reports corroborate Greg Bedard’s February briefing in the Boston Sports Journal that Gronkowski started off well in training camp before suddenly appearing “muted” the rest of the way. Bedard speculated that Belichick asked Gronkowski to knock off his celebratory behavior from early in camp, which is still possible. But apparently, a confrontation over his TB12 training was also a big factor.
Gronkowski suited up for 14 games in 2017, after playing in just eight in 2016. He finished with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. His TD total marked a career low in seasons where he played at least 11 games.
Despite the tight end’s unhappiness, it certainly didn’t seem to affect him in Super Bowl LII against the Eagles. He caught nine passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the Patriots’ 41-33 loss to Philadelphia.
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