UPDATE: Rob Gronkowski posted a tweet Wednesday night clarifying that he was kidding around during the broadcast and he hasn't checked out the Bucs playbook yet.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been the talk of the NFL offseason after acquiring ex-New England Patriots stars Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
Some of that talk has been off-field related. For example, Brady was accused of breaking league rules by visiting offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL recently announced new guidelines prohibiting players from meeting face-to-face with coaches before their offseason program begins.
Nevertheless, Brady won't be disciplined by the league for that. But now, his longtime tight end Gronkowski finds himself in a similar situation.
During Saturday's Bud Light Seltzer “Drafterparty" (57-minute mark), Gronk got caught up in a conversation about No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow studying the Cincinnati Bengals playbook weeks before the draft, and he claimed he was studying the Bucs playbook while still under contract with the Patriots.
“I was in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers playbook four weeks ago, and I wasn’t even on the team," Gronkowski said, per ProFootballTalk.
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That begs the obvious question: Could Tampa Bay be charged with tampering? That depends on how Gronkowski received the Bucs playbook.
If the Bucs directly communicated with Gronk and gave him the playbook while he was still under contract with New England, that's the very definition of tampering. It's unclear whether the Patriots authorized communications between Gronkowski and the Bucs before the April 22 trade.
Regardless, it definitely was a mistake for Gronk to blurt that out in the middle of a live broadcast if it puts his new team at risk of being disciplined. We'll have to wait and see what -- if anything -- comes out of it.