New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski was close to calling Detroit home.

A new report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter sheds more light on the much-rumored trade talks between the Patriots and multiple interested partners involving the All-Pro tight end, and it appears that the Lions came the closest to landing him. But Gronkowski blocked the big trade before it could get done.

Schefter reported on Sunday, hours before the Patriots and Lions kick off on Sunday Night Football, that the two teams nearly completed a trade in the offseason that would’ve shipped Gronkowski to Detroit. Talks reportedly peaked during the week of the 2018 draft. That’s when Gronkowski found out about the imminent deal – and put a stop to it.

According to the report, Gronkowski threatened to retire before playing for Detroit and wouldn’t return the Lions’ calls. Prior reports said Gronkowski told the Patriots he doesn’t want to catch passes from anyone other than Tom Brady. Reports of trade talks during draft week go back even further. Patriots owner Robert Kraft dismissed the Gronkowski trade rumors as “hogwash”.

Rob Gronkowski reacts with Bill Belichick after catching a touchdown pass during the third quarter of a New England Patriots game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski reacts with Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Gronkowski announced his commitment to New England for the 2018 season on Instagram in late April. That happened shortly after he reportedly met with Bill Belichick and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. In August, the Patriots added $4.3 million in bonuses and incentives to Gronkowski’s deal for 2018, which could make him the second-highest-paid tight end in the NFL if he hits all of them.

The tight end has nine catches for 138 yards and a touchdown through two games in 2018. He’s off the Patriots’ injury report after briefly appearing with an ankle injury, and is good to go to play the team that almost traded for him on Sunday night.

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