Following months of dialogue around a potential return from retirement, star tight end Rob Gronkowski finally gave way. Gronkowski guided his way toward a trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he will reunite with longtime teammate Tom Brady. That move has brought in perspective his time with the New England Patriots, which wasn’t exactly the smoothest at the tail end of the tenure. With the move to the Buccaneers in the books, Gronkowski has voiced how difficult it was for him to play under head coach Bill Belichick in New England.
Rob Gronkowski’s time with the Patriots
The All-Pro tight end spent the first nine years of his career, where he earned the reputation as being one of the best players at his position in NFL history.
During this span, Gronkowski was part of three Super Bowl-winning teams, earned four First-Team All-Pro selections, five Pro Bowl nominations, and a Comeback Player of the Year award. He racked up significant numbers along the way with four 1,000 receiving yard campaigns, garnered double-digit touchdowns five times, and more than 60 catches four times.
At the same time, Gronkowski dealt with a flurry of injuries along the way that had limited his playing time. Following his first two seasons, he hasn’t appeared in all 16 regular-season games once as he worked through two forearm fractures, a back vertebral fracture, a torn ACL and MCL, ankle sprain, a back Vertebral Disc Hernia, and a couple of registered concussions.
That primarily played a part in him stepping away from the game, but that combined with playing under the often tricky system in New England for Belichick has had its role in the situation. That is something that Gronkowski has acknowledged.
Rob Gronkowski discusses how tough it was playing for Bill Belichick
Throughout Gronkowski’s tenure with the Patriots, he had been one of the prominent faces of the franchise.
His injuries played a significant part in impacting how his time with the team unfolded, leading his retirement last year. However, Gronkowski did admit on Wednesday that he hard-coaching style of Belichick did play somewhat of a part.
Although he didn’t precisely state that outright, it’s something that could be interpreted through his comments, Belichick has developed a strong reputation for being quite challenging to play under due to the strictness of his system and the structure. Gronkowski was never one to complain or discuss his disdain or dislike for how things are run, but it’s evident that it was tough on him to work through.
There likely won’t be any player that outright states that given the high level of respect they have for Belichick. The proof has been in the pudding that his system works to the tune of six Super Bowls and numerous playoff appearances over the last two decades. Nonetheless, Gronkowski and Brady don’t appear that they will miss the hard-nosed coaching style of their former head coach.
Bill Belichick’s reputation won’t be harmed
Belichick may have a strong reputation as being a tough coach to play under, but that hasn’t changed his perception around the league. His system has worked quite well over the years that has seen him experience much success.
He has a long history of his structure and game plan working in his favor over the last two decades. There may be things such as the nature of how he trades older players on the roster, but it’s his overall success that keeps that from becoming the protruding perception of him.
In other words, Belichick has a formula for success, and it has got him to this point to being held in that high regard as arguably the greatest coach in NFL history.