Patriots

NFL Rumors: 'Count on' Rob Gronkowski returning to Patriots this season

NFL Rumors: 'Count on' Rob Gronkowski returning to Patriots this season

Rob Gronkowski tried to squash the comeback rumors. But the rest of the NFL apparently isn't buying it.

Three days after the former New England Patriots tight end told everyone to put the rumors he'll return from retirement "to rest," Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman shared the following:

Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski made a public appearance recently and said he was done with football. What I can tell you is few people, including sources on the Patriots, believe that.

The belief is that once the season gets going, and Gronkowski starts missing football, he will rejoin the team. It's not just a hunch, sources say; you can count on it.

That's a pretty strong belief from Freeman's sources, especially considering a recent report that Gronk's back injury played a role in his decision to retire.

The All-Pro tight end is barely over 30, though, and his former team is thin at tight end: Matt LaCosse tops New England's depth chart with Ben Watson suspended for the first four games and Austin Seferian-Jenkins released Tuesday.

It's worth noting that if Gronk is serious about a return, he'll have to make it before Dec. 1 (Week 13) if he wants to play in the postseason.

The Patriots are likely to at least begin the season with a Gronk-sized hole at tight end, but it appears there's still a chance he fills it.

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Tom Brady wields machete while riding horse to 'Old Town Road' song in new Twitter video

Tom Brady wields machete while riding horse to 'Old Town Road' song in new Twitter video

The Lil Nas X song "Old Town Road" is one of the biggest music hits of the year, and it made an appearance in Tom Brady's latest social media video.

The New England Patriots quarterback posted a video to Twitter (and his Instagram story) on Thursday of him riding a horse while the popular song plays in the background.

If you were wondering if the tool in Brady's right hand was a machete, you were right.

Brady is on vacation with his family enjoying some valuable personal time before Patriots training camp begins next week at Gillette Stadium. 

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Young Guns

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

The six-time Super Bowl champion will turn 42 on Aug. 3, but his passion for the game remains as strong as it's ever been.

UPDATE (1:45 p.m. ET): Is a Brady-themed "Old Town Road" remix in the cards??

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Did Julian Edelman get these Patriots, Lion King animal comparisons right?

Did Julian Edelman get these Patriots, Lion King animal comparisons right?

We'll be honest: There's not much happening in the NFL world right now.

That may explain why Julian Edelman went on social media Thursday and, in an apparent promotion for Disney's reboot of The Lion King, recast several New England Patriots players (and his coach) as animals.

Let's break it down, shall we?

Tom Brady: Goat
This one's a layup. Bonus points for the eye black.

Edelman: Squirrel
Edelman has long said his favorite nickname is "The Squirrel," so this is another obvious one.

Matthew Slater: Cheetah
An older, wiser animal also would have worked here, but New England's special teams ace does have blazing speed. And those glasses are a nice touch.

James White: Rabbit
This one fits pretty well, as the shifty running back is similarly hard to catch.

Dont'a Hightower: Rhino
The Patriots linebacker certainly has the strength of a rhino, but we'd like to think he's a bit more fleet of foot. 

Bill Belichick: The Owl
Belichick's wisdom makes him a natural choice for the owl, although opponents might peg the Patriots head coach as Scar instead.

There you have it. Overall, not a bad effort from Edelman ... and Hightower and White seem to agree.

If you’re looking for actual football news, you only have to wait one more week, as Patriots training camp begins July 25 at Gillette Stadium.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.