We’ve all heard stories from NFL players describing their offseason as a time to train hard for the upcoming year and improve in all areas of football. While I’m sure he does this in other ways, Rob Gronkowski recently shared information that might make players across the league envious. The future hall of fame tight end was asked about the preseason virtual training sessions with his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gronk’s response? “Oh man, I tricked em. I tricked em a few times”. The three-time super bowl winner went on to explain that with the inability to meet for in-person workouts, coaches would ask him and other players to film themselves and send in roughly two or three videos each day. Gronk, probably the greatest tight end to ever play the game of football, decided to film himself running sprints in several different shirts on the same day and then send them to the coaching staff over the course of the offseason as if they were all separate workouts. “He hasn’t had a clue to this day that I was tricking him about half the time”.
I love this story because it fits Gronkowski so well. Yes, he is one of the most feared tight ends in football history and posses an intimidating frame, but we know Gronk to be one of the funniest, most laid back, and now apparently sneakiest players in the NFL. This reminds me that Gronk is just like the rest of us. Throughout the pandemic, I, and probably other students, found myself submitting lackluster classwork or skipping over the assigned readings but still managing to succeed in the course. I believe Gronk is still a college student at heart, and this act of deception proves it. He was able to successfully fool an organization’s entire coaching staff into believing he was following their required workouts. While I am sure he was working out independently and doing what he needed to do to prepare for the NFL season, it is definitely fun to imagine Gronk coming up with schemes to outsmart his coaches.
Gronk’s Exciting Past
Gronkowski’s personality has been electric ever since he stepped into the public eye. It’s easy to imagine Gronk fitting in at almost every college across the country and being one of the most fun and exciting people on campus. In an interview with Conan, Gronkowski reflected on his days at the University of Arizona. He discusses his love for pool parties, beautiful girls, and enjoying the local bar scene. Gronkowski described the house he lived in while attending school as “legendary”. He told stories to Conan about an indoor slip and slide that resulted in several tight-end sized holes in the wall, and of course a lost security deposit. He mentions pooling money together with his roommates to buy a hot tub as a “great investment”. Gronkowski is certainly welcome at my fraternity house, as I’m sure he’d be the life of the party every weekend.
This offseason is not the first time the Arizona alum has fooled an NFL organization, as his record of deception and doing things his own way dates back to his time on the New England Patriots. When there was tension between Gronkowski and the Patriots management, there was rumored to be a blockbuster trade in the works that would have sent him to the Detroit Lions in exchange for several players and draft picks. Gronk was loyal to his quarterback, Tom Brady, and had no intentions of playing with anybody else. His response? Fake his retirement. As stated by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “When Gronkowski discovered he could be traded to Detroit that week, he threatened to retire rather than go to the Lions, according to sources. Gronkowski even declined to return the Lions’ calls, despite the fact that former Patriots executive Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia were leading the Detroit organization”.
Despite the drama surrounding him and his pump-fake of retirement, it all worked out for Gronkowski. He was able to stay with Brady in New England and secure another Super Bowl ring before actually retiring for a full season. He then came out of retirement to reunite with Brady in Tampa Bay for the 2020-2021 season and help lead them to a Super Bowl appearance. There’s just no way to hate Gronk. Despite antics like these, Gronk’s larger-than-life personality combined with his otherworldly talent makes him desirable for any NFL team. He likes to have fun and do things his way off the field, and as long as his play on the field continues to prosper we should expect to see even more accolades and even more funny anecdotes about this sports icon.