Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to coax all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski out of retirement. Unfortunately, they may have done so a little too clumsily.
Prior to the trade that formally sent Gronkowski to Tampa Bay, there was some speculation that the team had been in communication with him while he was still technically under contract with the Patriots. But there was no proof of any such conversations.
However, a statement that Gronkowski made on a recent podcast might offer proof, and Tampa Bay could suffer because of it. During the Bud Light Seltzer Drafterparty, Gronkowski revealed that he got the Buccaneers playbook weeks before he was a member of the team.
While not itself proof of prior communication between Gronkowski and the Bucs, it is pretty close to it. If the NFL were to investigate and discover that such an act had occurred, they might punish Tampa Bay.
“I was in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers playbook four weeks ago, and I wasn’t even on the team,” Gronkowski said.
But by the same token, it also goes against a statement Gronkowski made just one week ago. He last Wednesday that he hasn't really "dived into the playbook yet."
Ultimately we don't know what the truth is. Gronkowski could be joking around or just making up stories.
But it would probably serve the Buccaneers best to tell Gronkowski to take it easy when talking about the team.