The New England Patriots and tight end Rob Gronkowski confirmed the tight end will play football in 2018. After speculation that the 2017 season was the last for Gronkowski, who has been riddled with injuries throughout his career, the news was made official on Tuesday.
“I met with coach today and informed him I will be back for the 2018 season with the Pats,” Rob Gronkowski said. “I have been working out, staying in shape and feel great. Looking forward to another championship run.”
Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com wrote in his story on the website the announced Rob Gronkowski made could have been to avoid a trade by the Patriots prior to the NFL Draft. There had been rumors this offseason head coach Bill Belichick and the organization may look to move the All-Pro tight end.
“Peter King of SI.com has a very intriguing theory. The Patriots needed to know what Gronkowski plans to do before the draft, since they may have to draft his replacement if they don’t know what he’s doing,” Florio writes. “That part was fairly obvious; here’s where Peter goes next level (and I think directly to the heart of the matter): If Gronkowski hadn’t given a commitment to playing in 2018, coach Bill Belichick quite possibly would have traded Gronk before or during the draft.”
The news of a rift between player and coach has been a topic of conversation since the Patriots lost Super Bowl 52 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Gronkowski still could be traded, in theory. And now that he has declared a commitment to playing in 2018, maybe it will be easier to pull it off,” Florio added.
Rob Gronkowski is scheduled to make $8 million this season. Florio theorizes if another franchise is willing to pick up that salary, the tight end could still move teams before the start of the 2018 regular season.