Half a day before the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots kicked off on a Sunday Night Football showdown won by the Lions, ESPN’s Adam Schefter released a report that an offseason trade almost landed Gronkowski in Detroit as a Lion.
And after the loss, Gronkowski confirmed the report — and all of the other ones, even — as being the truth.
“Yeah, it happened,” Gronkowski said. “Brady’s my quarterback. That’s all. Wasn’t going anywhere without Brady.”
One of the more intriguing storylines of what was an unusually strange offseason in New England, (complete with an equally strange press conference from Gronkowski), numerous reports indicated that Gronkowski threatened to retire had the Patriots traded him. Part of the reason behind that threat from Gronkowski was that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was the only quarterback the already-legendary tight end wanted to catch passes from for the remainder of his NFL career.
And Sunday’s comments from the 6-foot-6 tight end officially confirmed the latter point.
GRONK ON TRADE REPORT#Patriots TE @RobGronkowski confirms @AdamSchefter report he was part of a possible blockbuster trade to #Lions before draft and threatened to retire if he was dealt. #WBZ pic.twitter.com/MCd9orEMQc— Scott Sullivan (@SullyBunz) September 24, 2018
Earlier this year, Patriots owner Robert Kraft dismissed a report that the Patriots were trading Gronkowski as “hogwash.”
“I think we have to be careful in society today that people can’t just come out and say things like this bit about us trading Gronk to the 49ers or Tennessee,” Kraft said in June. “There’s no basis to it and it gets a life of its own. I just want to go on record at today’s event to make sure that you all understand that there’s no truth that. People shouldn’t be able to do that.”
It’s worth noting that both Brady and Gronkowski skipped all of the Patriots’ voluntary workouts this past offseason, and that both reworked their contracts with performance-based incentives that could pay them closer to market value.
Through three games, the Brady-Gronkowski connection has seen No. 87 total 13 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown.