Rob Gronkowski’s brother spills out Patriots’ inner workings

Gronk isn’t going anywhere. Neither are the family’s loose lips.

After tight end Rob Gronkowski confirmed Sunday that he blew up a potential trade to Detroit by threatening retirement, the Patriots star’s brother Chris noted the All-Pro was nearly shipped away because of tension between the tight end and the only team he’s ever known.

“It was kind of a crazy offseason. There wasn’t a ton of communication between the two,” Chris Gronkowski, who played in the NFL from 2010 to 2012, said on WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan” show. “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 [deal] 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.”

Gronkowski eventually sat down with coach Bill Belichick, and the tight end’s contract was adjusted, which added incentives and potentially a lighter offseason workout schedule, according to Chris.

“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,” said Chris, a fullback with Dallas, Indianapolis and Denver, referencing a regimented New England culture that many have criticized. “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.

“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 let 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.”

If Gronkowski left New England, he likely would be earning more money, but the tight end stated after Sunday night’s game that he only wanted to play with Tom Brady. And even when the legendary quarterback steps away, Chris doesn’t believe his brother will necessarily do the same.

“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 said. “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. 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.”

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