We've been hearing for the past few weeks about how football's best tight end, Rob Gronkowski, is possibly mulling retirement as he approaches age 29 (his birthday is in May). Today, according to NBCSportsBoston.com, Gronk was "unhappy" throughout the 2017 season.
Injuries and other issues are "starting to wear on him mentally and physically, the atmosphere in Foxboro," the report went on to state. "He seriously considered stepping away from the game in training camp."
With that in mind, The Providence Journal offers a timely snapshot of New England's tight end position just two weeks to the day before the NFL free agent market opens.
Meanwhile, a pair of Patriots free agents-to-be are expressing a desire to return, but not any guarantees.
"We'll see what happens," WR Danny Amendola said at a community event this week. "I definitely want to be here. To tell you the truth, I don't want to leave. But it's a business. I've learned that."
"I love it here," echoed RB Dion Lewis on an ESPN podcast. "I've grown great relationships in this area the past three years, and I'm close to home – Albany, New York, is 2½ hours [away], so I'm real close to my family. At the same time, it's a business. Hopefully it will work out, but at the same time, you can't really think that way. You have to take care of yourself and your family at the same time."
Over the past few seasons, New England has had success luring impact free agents from their AFC East rivals in Buffalo to come to Foxborough. Could another Bill be on his way?
"You're happy for them, but you're also like, 'All right, every time somebody goes to the Patriots, they're going to the Pro Bowl or the Super Bowl,'" observed linebacker Preston Brown in a Boston Herald story.
"It's something you feel. A lot of guys left the last year, and it seemed like everybody who left us was going to the playoffs — [Rams wide receivers] Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, [49ers receiver] Marquise Goodwin. Everybody who left had a good season. It's definitely something you look at like wow, those guys are having success. But the Patriots, they definitely seem to get the best out of the Buffalo Bills."
Elsewhere, the NFL could make a coaching hiring rule change, based on what happened with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and the Indianapolis Colts this month. The MassLive blog explains.
Finally today, with everyone who's anyone in the NFL at the Scouting Combine this week, a *Herald *opinion piece declares that the Patriots must draft a potential franchise quarterback again this year.
"They seemed to pick the right guy once in Jimmy Garoppolo. Now they have to go back into the draft and hit a home run again," the writer asserts.