Before Joining Bill Belichick, Patriots TE Jonnu Smith Was Best Known for Boiling Water

The New England Patriots have potentially found their new Rob Gronkowski, and his name is Jonnu Smith.

After two years of minimal production from his tight ends, Bill Belichick and the Patriots went all-out to sign Smith, who thrived under ex-Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel on the Tennessee Titans.

When Smith entered the NFL in 2017, however, it wasn’t his pass-catching ability or athleticism that made him a notable name from Florida International University.

Jonnu Smith missed time in college because of boiling water

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Jonnu Smith had a terrifying Halloween in October 2016, but not because of costumes or ghosts.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Miami Herald, Smith and his girlfriend, Mary Gasper, spent Oct. 31, 2016, arguing. When they arrived at his dorm room, Gaspar — who “stated she was angered over his lack of attention to their relationship and was feeling extremely emotional and stressed” — poured boiling water on Smith. 

Although Smith sustained severe burns on his head, neck, back, shoulder, and arm, he displayed a “lack of reaction” to the incident. 

According to the Miami Herald, the arrest affidavit said his girlfriend admitted to the act. Police charged Gaspar — who was five months pregnant with Smith’s child at the time — with aggravated battery. 

Smith, then nearing the end of his senior year, only missed one game after the incident. The Herald reported in August 2017 that the state of Florida officially dropped the battery charges against Gaspar. 

Smith grew into a very productive tight end with the Titans

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When the Tennessee Titans used a third-round pick on Jonnu Smith in 2017, they selected a player best known for having “no reaction” to being burned by boiling water.

Smith left the Titans as an extremely productive tight end who improved on his numbers each season. In four years with the Titans, Smith hauled in 114 catches for 1,302 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Smith posted career-highs in catches (41), receiving yards (448), and touchdowns (eight) in 15 games last year.

A dynamic weapon who stands 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 248 pounds, Smith added 11 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown in five playoff games.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots just signed Jonnu Smith

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The New England Patriots have needed a durable and dangerous tight end since Rob Gronkowski retired after the 2018 season.

Jonnu Smith isn’t Hunter Henry, the Chargers’ excellent tight end who the Patriots also signed in free agency. Smith is nonetheless a vertical threat and a much-needed goal-line weapon who is joining an anemic Patriots offense.

Smith and the Patriots agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract with $31.25 million in guaranteed money.

Next up for the Patriots is finding a quarterback who can take advantage of Smith’s presence in the offense. New England re-signed Cam Newton last week, but Newton fared far better as a runner than a passer last year.

The New England Patriots currently hold the 15th overall pick in April’s NFL draft, which will likely keep them from selecting the likes of Justin Fields or Mac Jones barring a trade.

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