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Monday, March 25, 2019

Football

Rob Gronkowski announces retirement from football

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski said he was going to take some time after the Super Bowl to decide if he wants to continue playing football in 2019, and New England Patriots fans are going to be disappointed with his choice.

On Sunday, Gronkowski announced that he is retiring from playing. He thanked Patriots owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and a host of others in a lengthy Instagram post.

View this post on Instagram

It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

There had been reports recently that people close to Gronk expected him to keep playing, but he obviously had other plans. The All-Pro tight end has suffered a number of serious injuries throughout his career, and he appeared to be in rough physical condition after the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl. While Gronkowski and Brady appeared to hint at a Gronk return after the big win, it is not a huge shock that the 29-year-old is hanging up the cleats.

Despite retiring at a relatively young age, Gronkowski will be a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame. His 79 career touchdowns are tied for 28th all time in NFL history.

Jets open to making significant trades before draft?

Jets logo

The New York Jets have already spent more money this offseason than any team in NFL history under the current collective bargaining agreement, and they may not be done making impactful moves just yet.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini is convinced that the Jets want to move down from their No. 3 spot in the upcoming draft, whether that means acquiring additional draft picks, players, or both. While they have made some huge signings, the Jets still have needs along the offensive line — particularly at center — as well as outside linebacker and cornerback. They only have six picks in the draft and one in the top 68, so Cimini believes general manager Mike Maccagnan will try to at least recoup a second-round pick.

New York is already set at the quarterback position with Sam Darnold. While the temptation to draft an immediate impact player like Nick Bosa could be strong, there will undoubtedly be teams looking to move up the board to draft a QB. The Jets would be silly to not listen to offers.

In addition to possibly trading down from No. 3, the Jets could shop 2016 first-round pick Darron Lee. They signed inside linebacker CJ Mosley to a five-year, $85 million deal earlier this offseason, so there has been talk that Lee has one foot out the door.

We know at least one player who is unhappy with the way the Jets have done business this offseason, but they appear to be committed to trying to break out of their recent funk. If New York can’t win more than five games for the first time since 2015 after spending all that money, heads are going to roll.

Report: Tom Brady expected to skip voluntary workouts again

Tom Brady

Tom Brady was not present for much of the New England Patriots’ voluntary offseason program last year, and it sounds like the six-time Super Bowl champion is planning to take the same approach again heading into 2019.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss wrote over the weekend that the expectation is that Brady will “follow a similar routine as last year” and opt to spend time with his family rather than participating in voluntary workouts, which begin for the Patriots on April 15.

With the Patriots having won yet another Super Bowl, the narrative surrounding Brady’s offseason plans will likely have a much different feel this year. Both he and Rob Gronkowski chose to stay away last offseason until their presence was mandatory, and there was talk that they were butting heads with Bill Belichick over training and conditioning. Winning has a way of solving everything, and Brady and Gronk choosing to work out on their own last April and May obviously did not cost New England anything in the long run.

We can probably expect Belichick to have the same reaction he had last year if Brady doesn’t show up to organized team activities, but perhaps reporters will have fewer questions about it this time around.

Johnny Manziel opens up about mistakes again, road to AAF

Johnny Manziel CFL

Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but Johnny Manziel is trying to own up to the mistakes he has made throughout the past several years that contributed to the downfall of his football career.

Manziel, who could make his Alliance of American Football debut with the Memphis Express on Sunday, opened up over the weekend about some of the things that have happened since he was a star at Texas A&M and went on to be drafted by the Cleveland Browns. He said he has made a “multitude of mistakes” but will continue to try to make amends with those he has hurt.

“I’m not gonna lie, I wake up at times thinking I’m gonna pop up and be in my apartment my first year in Cleveland and it’s all gonna be one crazy dream,” Manziel said.

Manziel added that he believes his honesty about his past is one of the reasons he was able to sign with the AAF so quickly.

“It’s very public what happened to me. I acknowledge that. I don’t hide from it. I don’t run from it,” he said. “I’ve been a very bad person at times and I’ve made a lot of mistakes that I’m not proud of whatsoever.”

This is not the first time Manziel has opened up his struggles, which he says include alcohol abuse and a mental disorder. However, he seems to take a step back every time things are looking up for him, and that was the case when he was recently booted from the Canadian Football League.

Manziel appears to be once again having problems in his personal life, and his wife recently indicated the 26-year-old broke his marriage vows. While the AAF is supposed to be a place where athletes can showcase their talents in hopes of getting a shot in the NFL, it would still be a surprise if Manziel gets a call from an NFL team.

Robert Kraft issues statement in wake of prostitution allegations

Robert Kraft

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has spoken publicly for the first time since his alleged involvement in a sex trafficking scandal came to light.

Kraft kept it vague and did not explicitly admit to any wrongdoing, but apologized for hurt and disappointment he’d caused, and vowed to prove himself capable of doing better through his actions.

Kraft’s statement doesn’t really address the legal jeopardy he’s still in. He is still refusing to admit any guilt, perhaps in part because he wants to do everything he can to keep NFL-imposed discipline against himself or his organization to a minimum. In fact, his attorneys are currently trying a new approach in an effort to get the charges against him thrown out.

Adrian Peterson aiming higher after resurgent first season with Washington

Adrian Peterson

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson surged to his first 1,000-yard rushing season in three years last season, but in his mind, it wasn’t nearly good enough.

In an interview last week with Kyle Stackpole of the team’s official website, Peterson said he thought he should have been closer to 1,500 yards, and aims to do much better this year.

“I feel like last year was just a decent season, like for me in my mind,” Peterson said. “People were like, ‘Wow, you did incredible, you had 1,000 yards.’ And I’m like, ‘Man, I should have had 15, 16 hundred yards.'”

Peterson has always held himself to a very high standard. Only twice in his career has he eclipsed the 1,500-yard mark, and those years came in his physical prime at a position not known for aging gracefully. Don’t expect him to use that as an excuse. He never has before.

Robert Kraft’s attorney accuses law enforcement of illegally obtaining evidence

Robert Kraft

The attorney for Robert Kraft has gone on the offensive.

Kraft’s attorney issued a statement on Friday in which he said the evidence against his client was obtained illegally.

“There was no human trafficking and law enforcement knows it. The video and the traffic stop were illegal and law enforcement just doesn’t want to admit it. The state attorney needs to step up and do the right thing and investigate how the evidence in this case was obtained,” attorney William Burck told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Kraft has pleaded not guilty to two charges of solicitation of prostitution after he was recorded participating in sex acts at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida back in January. The New England Patriots owner will not accept any plea deal that involves him admitting any guilt.

The video was obtained and arrests made as part of a sting operation regarding sex trafficking. Kraft’s attorney issued his statement the same day a sheriff involved in the case said he expects the video evidence to eventually be made public. Kraft’s legal team is fighting to have the video kept private.