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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Articles tagged: Jermaine Wiggins

Ex-Patriots TE insists Rob Gronkowski will return to team

Rob Gronkowski

The Rob Gronkowski comeback talk has cooled off considerably in recent weeks, but one former New England Patriots player expects it to pick up again during the regular season, and he thinks it will be warranted.

Former Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins, who has worked for and made several appearances on sports networks in the Boston area, is convinced that Gronkowski will return to the team at some point in 2019. Wiggins told TMZ over the weekend that he would “bet money” on it and is about 97 percent sure.

“You heard it here first, he’s going to be back this year!” Wiggins said confidently. “He loves the limelight, and what better way to keep continue to build the Gronk brand by being out on the field? … He’s still got plenty of gas left in the tank. He’ll be back. I’m telling you.”

Wiggins still has some connections to the Patriots, so his prediction is noteworthy. He also said last year that the tension between Gronkowski and the Patriots had to do with Gronk wanting more money, and the Pro Bowler received a raise before the 2018 season.

Of course, Wiggins is not the first person to predict that Gronkowski will be back. One line of thinking is that he was just tired of the grind of preseason and training camp and will get the itch to play later in the year, especially if Tom Brady reaches out and tries to convince him. And heck, Bill Belichick even cracked a joke this offseason that may have indicated he misses having Gronk around.

It’s worth noting that Gronkowski was not nearly as effective in 2018 as he was in seasons past. He has also appeared slimmer during public appearances this offseason, so it would not be a surprise if his retirement from football is permanent.

Ex-Patriots tight end: Rob Gronkowski is frustrated with contract

The New England Patriots’ decision to trade Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday has seemingly put an end to the talk about Rob Gronkowski being traded. Going forward, the main issue between Gronk and the team could be contract-related.

Former Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins, who still has connections to the team and the local media, told TMZ this week that he believes most of Gronkowski’s frustration stems from wanting a raise.

“I definitely think he’s frustrated with the money that he gets when you look at what he does,” Wiggins said. “I think he should be getting paid the same amount of money as guys like Antonio Brown, in my opinion. He’s more valuable, to me, than a guy like Antonio Brown, who’s a great wide receiver. (Gronkowski) should be getting paid $15 or $16 million per year. He’s not, so there’s definitely that frustration there.”

Wiggins went on to say that Gronkowski is “by far” more valuable than the top wideouts in the game like Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr.

“The things that you can do with him — you can line him up outside like a wide receiver and it’s always a mistmatch,” Wiggins added. “You might be able to shut down Julio Jones or shut down Odell Beckham, but when you talk about a player like Rob Gronkowski, the NFL has never seen anything like him. … By far he’s the most dangerous player in the NFL outside the quarterback position.”

Gronkowski’s base salary for 2018 is $8 million. That places him among the top-paid tight ends in the NFL, but it is $2 million less than the average Jimmy Graham is getting with the three-year, $30 million deal he signed with the Green Bay Packers.

Last year, Gronk restructured his contract so that he had more than $5 million in incentives built in for 2017. He ended up earning all of them and making nearly $11 million, but he probably feels he should not have to deal with escalators in his contract going forward.

The situation with Gronk could be a lot like Le’Veon Bell’s contract negotiations with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Gronk is one of the highest-paid players at his position, he probably feels he should be paid more like the highest-paid wide receivers with the type of impact he makes. He is also said to be having some issues with Bill Belichick. At the end of the day, a respectable raise could make everyone happier.

Steve Smith reportedly tried to fight Jermaine Wiggins after loss

Steve-Smith-Sr

This is a story about Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. trying to fight former teammate Jermaine Wiggins.

Here’s some background. Wiggins was a part of the New England Patriots’ first Super Bowl team in 2001. The fact that he grew up in East Boston, Mass. coupled with some of the big plays he made during New England’s postseason run has made him somewhat of a local hero. Wiggins has made regular appearances on 98.5 The Sports Hub and does some other media spots in the Boston area.

Wiggins and Smith were teammates with the Carolina Panthers in 2002 and 2003. During one of his recent media appearances, Wiggins called Smith a “bully” and spoke about Smith’s reputation for being hard on younger players and fighting teammates (remember this incident?). As you might expect, Smith did not appreciate it. So when he spotted Wiggins after Baltimore’s loss to the Pats last weekend, he supposedly went off on him.

Marc Bertrand of 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger and Mazz Show” told the story on Monday. You can read the entire account here. Scott Zolak, a former Patriots quarterback who calls Pats games for 98.5 The Sports Hub, was there to witness the altercation. He called into the “Felger and Mazz Show” to explain what he saw.

“So [Smith] sees Wiggy and he’s like ‘Yo, what’s up?!’” Zolak explained. “And Wiggy’s like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ And Smith is like, ‘No dude, what the bleep’s up?’ And Wiggy’s like, ‘Oh no, now you’re swearing in front of my kids.’ And he’s like, ‘You gotta step off.’ And then it starts getting nasty.

“And Steve is like, ‘You called me a bully! So what’s up with that? You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna bleep you right now.’ And Wiggy’s like, ‘Man, you gotta stop in front of my kids.’”

Apparently things got heated after that. Zolak said Brandon LaFell, a former teammate and friend of Smith’s, stepped in to help diffuse the situation. Some Patriots security staffers also had to get involved. The entire description of the argument is worth reading.

If you’re surprised by any of this, you must not be at all familiar with Smith. He’s the definition of a competitor and an agitator. If you saw some of the comments he made before Saturday’s game, you can imagine how angry he was after the Ravens lost.