Rob Gronkowski reportedly is likely to return to the Patriots in 2018 despite an apparent rift between him and Bill Belichick.
ESPN's Jeff Darlington states, "Gronkowski still hasn't made a decision, but despite serious considerations since the end of the season of retiring because of physical and mental fatigue, sources say he is "pretty certain" he'll come back as long as Tom Brady remains with the team.
Darlington also writes, "Lingering frustrations remain between Gronkowski and head coach Bill Belichick, along with others in the Patriots organization". This comes not long after our own Mike Giardi reported some Patriots players, including Gronk and Brady, were miserable.
As for Belichick, his frustration with Gronkowski according to Darlington is due to his uncertainty regarding whether the Pats tight end " remains all-in".
Despite the tension that seems to exist between the two, Darlington notes the relationship isn't broken beyond repair.
"Should the offseason continue to create a sense within Gronkowski that he is fully committed to football, many close to Gronkowski and Belichick say they believe the friction between the two will ease. Although the discord should not be discounted, as one source explained, it should not be viewed as irreconcilable."
As we continue waiting for Gronk to give a straight answer about his future plans, hearing he is "pretty certain" about returning to New England is at least an encouraging sign, rather than the silence that has existed throughout the offseason.