Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald noted the dominant tight end made the comments when he granted there was a trade that would have sent him to the Lions had he not threatened to retire. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported as much prior to Sunday's contest, noting the two teams "were deep into trade discussions last offseason" before Gronkowski threatened to walk away and didn't even return Detroit's calls.
Detroit shouldn't take it personally, though, as Schefter pointed out Gronkowski wouldn't play anywhere besides New England even though it was in trade discussions "with a few teams."
Instead of trading him, the Patriots reworked his deal and added $4.3 million in incentives for the 2018 campaign with up to $3.3 million available if he accomplishes three of the following four goals: 70 catches, 1,085 receiving yards, 80 percent playing time and nine touchdown receptions.
It is no wonder Gronkowski wanted to play with Brady considering he is one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history and has helped guide the tight end to a surefire Hall of Fame career by 29 years old.
Gronkowski is a two-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro selection who has compiled four seasons of more than 1,000 receiving yards and five seasons with double-digit touchdown totals.
He appears on his way to another solid year with 13 catches for 189 yards and a score through three games, but his Patriots are 1-2. However, they are working without the suspended Julian Edelman—who will return after one more game—and will also have Josh Gordon after acquiring him via trade from the Cleveland Browns (he was inactive Sunday).
It will be all the more difficult for opponents to double Gronkowski when they are both running alongside him, which will give him a chance to prove once again why he loves playing with Brady.