New England Patriots tight end has been working out at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center and employing Tom Brady's trainer, Alex Guerrero, a decision which reportedly hasn't sat well with head coach Bill Belichick.
According to of the Boston Herald, "At one point early last season, the Hoodie chastised Gronk in front of the players for being a TB12 client, according to a source. So maybe that was Belichick's not-so-subtle way of trying to keep everyone from jumping ship on the team's training staff."
Former Baltimore Ravens head coach and current NFL Network analyst Brian Billick understands why Belichick may be hesitant to support Guerrero:
"Everyone wants their personal guy. And that's probably where Gronk is right now. We took the approach, we let them come to the facility and let them work out with their guy. That way, we could monitor it... Now, it's not comfortable. That's asking a lot of your weight staff. It's not an easy thing to do, but it's where we are with today's athletes.
"The problem becomes, do I let everybody in? Now I got 53 different workout guys, so there's a fine line to draw in bringing in outside knowledge into the building. It's not easy."
But Hall of Fame tight end and Fox Sports 1 personality Shannon Sharpe also understands Gronk's perspective on the matter:
"Gronk is trying to do what he thinks is best for him. The better Gronk you get, the better your chances are of winning. But I get it. Mr. [Robert] Kraft is paying his training staff hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Why should anyone go elsewhere? I'll tell you why. Because the greatest muscle an athlete has is his mind. It's not his hamstring, it's not his quad, it's not his biceps, it's his mind. They believe Guerrero gives them an advantage. He offers them something the Patriots training staff doesn't."
This isn't the first time it was reported that there may be a rift between the Patriots and the duo of Guerrero and Brady over their TB12 training methods.
Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com reported in January that many players on the Patriots, especially offensive players, felt a pressure when deciding whether to train at the TB12 clinic, potentially alienating Belichick and the Patriots staff, or working out with the team's training staff and potentially alienating Brady.
And in 2017, Belichick reportedly revoked Guerrero's access to the Patriots sidelines and any of the team's headquarters, per Wickersham's report.
As for Gronkowski, injuries have always been a major factor in his career. The 28-year-old superstar has missed 26 regular-season games since 2012, an average of 4.3 games per season. When healthy he's dynamic, catching 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games last season. He was also superb in last year's postseason, accumulating 16 catches for 218 yards and three scores in three games.
But those health issues and reported riffs with the Patriots have caused Gronkowski to at least consider retirement. Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston reported in late February that Gronkowski did not enjoy himself in 2017 and "the atmosphere in New England is starting to wear on him physically and mentally."
He added: "[Gronkowski] seriously considered stepping away from the game in training camp. He had kind of had it. At that point his body wasn't responding. He wanted to train a certain way. The team didn't necessarily want him to train the way he wanted to train. They were at loggerheads. He was pissed."