During the offseason, while he stayed away from the team and mulled retirement, the Patriots engaged in trade talks centered around star tight end Rob Gronkowski. They had several interested parties, and at one point, it appeared a deal would get done to send Gronk to a new team, sources say.
But when Gronkowski learned of his new reality, he strongly resisted. He informed the Patriots that he would rather step away from football and retire than play for another team, coach or quarterback. He told people close to him that he only wants to catch passes from Tom Brady.
Any trade likely would have come with a new contract for Gronkowski, and without his cooperation, no trade was consummated. the 2017 season had been difficult for Gronkowski, and he openly mused about retirement after the Super Bowl. He wanted to work out with guru Alex Guerrero because he believed the trainer helped him feel as good as he's ever felt.
This all led to an in-person meeting with coach Bill Belichick, Gronkowski's longtime agent Drew Rosenhaus and Gronkowski, one that culminated in Gronk's Instagram announcing he was back. Two weeks ago, the two sides agreed on a reworked contract to give him higher upside.
The team considers him year-to-year, but the events of this offseason likely sealed his fate as a member of the Patriots until he steps away from the NFL for good.
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