Tom Brady had nothing but nice things to say about Bill Belichick after leaving the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but that hasn't slowed the speculation about there being some bad blood at the end of Brady's Patriots tenure.
Brady joined the Bucs in March on a two-year deal worth $50 million. A month later, his longtime tight end Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement and followed him to Tampa.
The duo has made it clear they're excited to "run it back" in 2020, but their reunion on the Bucs begs the question of whether some of their motivation for joining up on a new team was to spite Belichick and the Patriots.
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On the latest episode of The Michael Holley Podcast, NBC Sports' Peter King explained why he doesn't believe that's the case.
Tom Brady wanted a new life, that's what he wanted. Eight years from now when Tom Brady is standing in Canton, Ohio with a gold jacket and he encounters Bill Belichick for the first time of the weekend, Tom Brady will hug Bill Belichick for 15 seconds and he'll mean it.
I understand that there were some tense times at the end. With competitors, there usually are. But both of these guys know that for 19 years, they made beautiful music together. And to attempt to throw dirt on that by being temporarily angry about something, I don't think -- and I'm not saying one side or the other isn't a little bit ticked off at the other -- but they're competitive human beings.
As for Gronk, King believes his departure was more about following Brady than getting back at Belichick.
Rob Gronkowski is Fred Flinstone. Just kind of a happy-go-lucky lughead, you know? But a nice guy and incredible football player and all that. I don't think he has these kind of deep thoughts where he says, 'man, you see what Bill Belichick did to me? You see how they dissed me?'
I think he's much more of a don't worry, be happy guy. And I'm sure there are some things that happened during the course of his last couple of years ... but I think Rob Gronkowski did what he did more out of a devotion for Tom Brady than he did out of hatred of Bill Belichick, and that's for sure.
King also chatted with Holley about what left him "mystified" by the Patriots' draft, who he thought was the Patriots' best draft pick this year, and much more. To listen and subscribe, check out the full episode on the NBC Sports Boston podcast network and on YouTube.