Report: Rob Gronkowski Threatened To Retire Rather Than Play For The Lions

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Adam Schefter’s Sunday-morning scoop this week is about a trade that almost went down back in April. Normally, reports on trades that didn’t actually happen are far less juicy than ones that have happened or might in the future. But Schefter’s report—which names a previously unknown team from an Ian Rapoport report a few weeks back—has a major “lol Lions” component to it, so it’s worth reading.

This past offseason, according to Schefter, the Lions and Patriots were “deep into trade discussions” around the week of the draft for a deal that would involve sending Gronk to Detroit. But when Gronk heard about the deal, Gronk got angry. And the Lions wouldn’t like him when he’s angry:

When Gronkowski discovered he could be traded to Detroit that week, he threatened to retire rather than go to the Lions, according to sources. Gronkowski even declined to return the Lions’ calls, despite the fact that former Patriots executive Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia were leading the Detroit organization.

It was at that point that Gronkowski and Patriots officials met, with the two sides discussing a plan for the Pro Bowl tight end to continue playing — but only in New England. The Patriots then called off any proposed trade with the Lions, leaving Detroit disappointed.


There are a few ways to look at this. The boring way is that Gronk was just happy with his situation in New England, and didn’t see a point in continuing to play football anywhere else. That’s backed up by Rapoport’s initial article, which said, “He told people close to him that he only wants to catch passes from Tom Brady.”

The more fun way, however, is that the Lions are such an irreparable trash heap that no veteran still playing at a high level would dare play for them if he had any choice in the matter. Or, a third way—Matt Patricia is such a freak that Gronk is dead set on avoiding him at all costs. You’re free to pick whichever explanation works best for you.


Update (11:00 a.m.): Schefter has gone with the first explanation in a follow-up tweet: