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Chris Gronkowski details brother's tumultuous offseason with Patriots

Rob Bradford
September 25, 2018 - 9:44 am

The conversation about Rob Gronkowski's offseason keeps on going.

The latest news regarding how things shook out for the Patriots' tight end leading up to this season came Sunday when ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Pats and Lions were in talks to trade Gronkowski to Detroit before the All-Pro made it clear he was not going to play for another team other than New England. (A report Gronkowski confirmed after Sunday's loss to the Lions.)

And now, appearing on the Kirk & Callahan Show, Chris Gronkowski offered some insight as to his brother's mindset when it came to a future with the Patriots and why there may have been some discord.

"It was kind of a crazy offseason. There wasn't a ton of communication between the two," said Chris Gronkowski, referencing his brother and the Patriots. "He wanted to get paid what he deserved. He wanted to be paid as one of the top tight ends for once. It's been a struggle for him to make that money. They want him on an incentive-base and he proved himself last year, 'I'll take incentive-base,' and he got the job done. For him, he just wanted to sit down and get paid what he deserved and what made sense for him. I didn't figure the trade would ever happen. He wanted to stay in New England no matter what and that's what ended up happening. He just wanted to be comfortable with what he was playing for."

According to Chris, an agreement was ultimately reached between the parties during a sit-down between the tight end and his head coach, Bill Belichick.

Along with adjusting Gronkowski's contract, adding incentives, Chris insinuated there may be an arrangement where the tight end's workload between games is drawn back on.

"He really just wanted to have more freedom is kind of what it came down to, and just some respect to do what he needs to get done," Chris said. "So going into his eighth, ninth season, he knows what he needs to get done. He just wanted some more freedom and he wanted to get what he deserves. He was being paid like he was just a mediocre tight end and just wanted to get some respect on that front, as well. ... Between the contract and offseason training, stuff like that, he wants to be able to do, and get done what he needs to get done."

Rob's younger brother added, "After the whole trade talks went down he went in and talked to Belichick and I know he tweeted right after it. It was just all about getting on the same page with him. They sat down, they talked everything out. He left him know what he needed done and Belichick let him know what he needed. After that he came out, he tweeted, 'I'm going to be in New England,' and he's happy to be there. There was just communication errors where they weren't talking and they sat down, they got it together and figured everything out."

Chris did acknowledge that Rob could have probably made the financial windfall he was seeking if a trade outside New England was made, but the tight end wanted to prioritize teaming up with Tom Brady while continuing to exist in the Patriots' winning environment.

"He definitely would have been paid, probably $15 million a year if he left New England. That crosses your mind but at the same time he loves where he's playing, he loves who he's playing with and he loves winning games," Chris Gronkowski said. "He would rather give that money up and play for a team he wants to play for."

As for the idea that Rob was on the verge of retiring, his brother doesn't think that is an option any time soon.

"I think he found this year a new way to take care of his body, a new way to repair things. Offseason he felt great. He's in his prime so it's super hard to walk away from the game when you're the best player in the game," Chris said. "It's hard to watch other people play knowing that you're better than them. I don't think he'll walk away from the game until he's past his prime."

Chris also downplayed Rob's involvement with Tom Brady's trainer/business partner Alex Guerrero.

"I know he does a little for him with flexibility, pliability, band-work, stuff like that. It has helped him out but it's not something there where it's a straight regimen that that's all he's doing," Chris said. "I don't know how much he talks with Alex."