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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Report: Rob Gronkowski ‘seriously considered’ retiring in training camp

Rob Gronkowski has yet to commit to playing football in 2018, and there has been speculation that the tight end’s concussion in the AFC Championship Game and the other serious injuries he has suffered are the driving force behind his uncertainty. According to one reporter, there is a lot more to it than that.

In an appearance on NBC Sports Boston on Monday, Patriots reporter Tom E. Curran revealed that Gronkowski seriously considered retiring before the 2017 season even started. Some of that had to do with disagreements over the way he wanted to train and what the team expected of him.

“He seriously considered stepping away from the game in training camp. He had kind of had it,” Curran said. “At that point his body wasn’t responding. He wanted to train a certain way. The team didn’t necessarily want him to train the way he wanted to train. They were at logger heads. He was pissed.”

If you remember, a story was published back in July about how Gronkowski had been working out with Brady’s trainer Alex Guerrero and spending a lot of time at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center. Curran’s report almost certainly ties in with ESPN’s infamous bombshell story about how the Patriots were at odds with players who were following Guerrero’s methods and defying the team’s training staff.

Curran said he spoke with Gronkowski in December, and his tune had changed a bit. He said he was having more fun on the field than at any point in his career, but his frustrations from training camp still lingered.

“He talked about training camp and said it was embarrassing and humiliating,” Curran said. “He couldn’t play, and he had difficulty convincing people that he should be able to go and train a particular way to get right.

“He didn’t enjoy himself in 2017. He did not have a good time, despite the fact that his body was in a better shape than its been in a long time and despite the fact that he’s one of the most dominant players at any skill position. The atmosphere in New England is starting to wear on him physically and mentally.”

Gronkowski played in the preseason for the first time since 2012, so it’s unclear if he felt he was rushed back too quick after he underwent his third back surgery since college. For what it’s worth, Curran said there are a lot of core players with the Patriots who were not happy with the “atmosphere and climate” in New England toward the end of the season.

No one will be surprised if Gronkowski returns to the Patriots next year and the team marches right back to the Super Bowl, but it has become clear that there are some real issues going on behind closed doors in Foxboro. The way some prominent players — Tom Brady included — supported Malcolm Butler publicly after his Super Bowl benching said a lot. It sounds as if some of those same frustrations have Gronkowski questioning whether he wants to continue his career.

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