Patriots

NFL rumors: Patriots' Rob Gronkowski to "strongly consider retirement" after playoffs

NFL rumors: Patriots' Rob Gronkowski to "strongly consider retirement" after playoffs

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski could be playing in his final NFL game Sunday when the Pats host the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC Divisional Round at Gillette Stadium. 

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning that Gronkowski will "strongly consider retirement" whenever the Patriots' playoff run concludes.


The Patriots' long-time fixture is expected to weigh retirement once again, and he may be playing the final games of his likely Hall of Fame career. Just 29-years-old and financially set, Gronkowski nearly retired last season rather than be traded to the Lions and finish his career elsewhere.

Gronkowski told reporters on Dec. 27 that he's "all-in" for 2018 and wasn't thinking about his future.

"I love the grind," Gronkowski said. "I'm all-in. I've been all-in all season. No matter if it's been up, if it's been down. I'm gonna tell you this right now: I'm gonna be all-in the rest of the year no matter what it is. That's just my main focus, no matter how it goes."

The 29-year-old veteran has battled many injuries throughout his career, and his physical, bruising style of play certainly doesn't bode well for him aging gracefully. He missed three games this season, two last season and eight during the 2016 campaign. Gronkowski hasn't played a full 16-game slate since his rookie and sophomore seasons.

Gronkowski caught 47 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season. He showed flashes of dominant play, most notably in the Patriots' thrilling 43-40 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6 and a Week 14 loss to the Miami Dolphins, but overall he was much more inconsistent compared to recent seasons.

Gronkowski was not on the injury report in the week entering Sunday's playoff game against the Chargers and played the final the seven games of the regular season. He was largely ineffective over the last three weeks, though, totaling four receptions for 45 yards and zero touchdowns in those games combined.

The Patriots will need a productive Gronkowski as both a pass-catcher and blocker Sunday against a very good Chargers defense.

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NFL Rumors: Patriots, Cardinals haven't spoken about Josh Rosen trade

NFL Rumors: Patriots, Cardinals haven't spoken about Josh Rosen trade

It was an interesting theory, but for now, Josh Rosen-to-the-New England Patriots remains just that: a theory.

On the morning of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals have no deal in place to trade quarterback Josh Rosen and haven't even spoken to the Patriots about a possible deal, ESPN's Adam Schefter said Thursday morning on WEEI's "Mut & Callahan."

According to Schefter, the Cardinals have spoken to the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants about Rosen, but no deal is imminent.

Arizona has the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's first round, and many believe they'll use it to draft Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray. That would make Rosen, the 10th overall pick in the 2018 draft, a potential trade chip, and the Patriots reportedly were "very interested"  in acquiring the 22-year-old QB as they search for a successor for 41-year-old Tom Brady.

But as the draft approaches, doubt has emerged that the Cardinals would even trade Rosen, with a recent report suggesting they may not draft Murray and opt to keep Rosen as their QB of the future.

Rosen would have been an intriguing option for the Patriots, but Bill Belichick and Co. have several other signal-callers to consider in this year's draft class -- Duke's Daniel Jones, West Virginia's Will Grier and Auburn's Jarrett Stidham, to name a few.

New England enters Thursday with 12 draft picks, including the No. 32 overall selection.

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Lombardi doesn't see a 'Day 1 starter' at QB in this draft

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Lombardi doesn't see a 'Day 1 starter' at QB in this draft

If anyone could provide insight into what Bill Belichick and the Patriots might be thinking on the eve of the NFL draft, it's Michael Lombardi. The former Pats staffer and Belichick confidant once dubbed "one of the smartest people I know" by the coach.

Lombardi joined Phil Perry this week on "The Next Pats Podcast" to look ahead to a draft he doesn't seem enamored with - particularly at quarterback for those thinking the heir to Tom Brady might be selected this weekend.

Lombardi was on Belichick's staff the last time that attempt was made - when Jimmy Garoppolo was drafted in 2014.

"Tom has defeated Father Time," Lombardi told Perry. "When we drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014, did anybody think Tom would last another five years?  Anybody who said yes, other than Tom, probably wasn't telling the truth. Tom's just remarkable..."

As for this draft class of QBs, Lombardi said: "I'm not sure there's a quarterback in this draft, [rumored No. 1 pick Kyler] Murray included, who doesn't have some kind of fault in them...I have a hard time looking at this draft and saying [of the QBs] this guy's a Day 1 starter or a Pro Bowl player. "

Lombardi echoed Belichick's comments at the coach's pre-draft meeting with the media about the difficulty involved in evaluating college passers because of the level of competition they're coming from.

"Nobody ever talks about the level of competition and that's really the challenge of evaluating college players," Lombardi said. "When you watch pro players it's easy because they're going against other pro players."

And what might the Pats be looking for tomorrow night with pick No. 32? Lombardi sees them leaning toward defense.

"I think the thing about the Patriots is they realize that they've got to get a good player at 32," he told Perry. "If it's a corner that they like, that can come in and play a role for them this year, I think they could pick the corner. If there happened to be a linebacker or a defensive end that could rush, they can do that. It's going to be what the player's skill set is, what he could do this year and what impact he could utilize within there. You know there's always the chance he [Belichick] could trade down for more second-round picks."

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