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New England Patriots

By Matt Dolloff,

It’s borderline stunning how so few people have noticed the not-so-thinly-veiled shot that Rob Gronkowski just took at Bill Belichick.

This isn’t about the clown show that Gronk put on at Gillette Stadium, where he raised a giant middle finger to his coaches and teammates with his bizarrely flippant behavior during a press conference for a motocross event. This is about the tweet that he sent out on Monday night, as Gronkowski the tight end weighed in on Gronkowski the horse.

Unfortunately, the latter will not be able to race in the Kentucky Derby on May 5. The three-year-old thoroughbred suffered a minor fever that has apparently affected him badly enough to keep him out of horse racing’s biggest event.

The most important thing in this story is that the horse is OK. It sounds like he is, and Rob Gronkowski did the right thing to tweet his support. But … he inserted what really should be interpreted as a dig at his head coach’s favorite phrase.

“I fully support what’s best for the horse.” If that’s not a direct volley at Belichick’s “what’s best for the football team” catchphrase, then it would be one hell of a coincidence.

Take out that one part and Gronk’s tweet still reads just fine: “It’s unfortunate Gronkowski the horse will not be able to race in the upcoming Kentucky Derby due to an illness. I know he will come back strong and healthy and I am excited to see him race again very soon.”

It’s hard not to believe that he decided before hitting the “Tweet” button to throw in a not-so-subtle jab at his head coach, who could be on the verge of exporting him to the NFL’s version of the Bermuda Triangle. An NFC team without a high-end quarterback or a young, developing prospect under center. Maybe the Cardinals.

Ideally, Gronk just gets the new contract he deserves. It may be tough for the Pats to swallow after how he’s acted recently, but it’s still the better option than trading him when you likely won’t get commensurate value in return.

But if he does get a new contract, he’ll get it despite apparently stewing anger with Belichick and some clear poking and prodding at the head coach’s rhetoric.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at