Tight end Rob Gronkowski dismissed rumors of being the subject of a potential trade by the New England Patriots.
“It just shows how much fake news is out there. Hashtag fake news,” Gronkowski said on Saturday, via CBS Boston. “That’s all I know. It’s true. It exists. See it all the time about me.”
A rumor gained steam on Friday after former Boston Herald reporter Adam Kurkjian tweeted that head coach Bill Belichick wanted to trade Gronkowski to either the Tennessee Titans or San Francisco 49ers. Kurkjian added that Belichick met with owner Robert Kraft before quarterback Tom Brady reportedly threatened to retire if Gronkowski was traded away.
“What a nice guy,” the 29-year-old Gronkowski joked of Brady. “But I haven’t talked to him. I didn’t even know about it until last night. Fake news.”
NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran reported that the Patriots have placed calls to gauge other teams’ interest in Gronkowski, but that’s all.
“At this juncture, the notion of an imminent trade which I reported ‘zero chance of that happening’ is where we are,” Curran said Friday on “Boston Sports Tonight.”
“So Gronk’s not going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean that the opportunity was not out there for that to have happened.”
A team spokesperson has denied the trade reports involving Gronkowski.
“I would say with the utmost confidence that none of that is true,” Patriots spokesperson Stacy James said. “None of it.”
Gronkowski initially raised doubts about his playing future mere moments after Super Bowl LII, with rumors circulating of a career in acting, professional wrestling and even dirt-bike riding for the affable star.
He posted 69 catches for 1,084 yards with eight touchdowns over 14 games in 2017.
A second-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2010, Gronkowski has been a touchdown machine since joining the team, reaching double digits in five of his eight seasons, including a career-high 17 in 2011.
Gronkowski has surpassed 1,000 yards four times and has 474 receptions for 7,179 yards in 102 career games (89) starts.
His 76 touchdown catches rank third on the all-time list among tight ends, behind Antonio Gates (114) and Tony Gonzalez (111).