For nine years, former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was the party boy of the NFL. He danced on stages after Super Bowls, hosted a party cruise in his name, and brought a raucous energy to championship parades.
But in the eyes of Odell Beckham Jr., the Cleveland Browns receiver gets ridiculed for the same actions Gronk got lionized for. When asked whether he's done anything more inappropriate than the retired Patriots tight end, Beckham Jr. told GQ, "Probably not."
"It's the same thing. It's like, Why can't I have fun? People tell me I'm supposed to be a role model. Well, what are they supposed to be? We're human beings at the end of the day. We earned the right to play in the NFL, but we also earned a life of our own. “I just had a talk with my uncle, and he agreed that my privacy is about the only thing I need back.”* You never hear about my personal life. You never hear about the woman I'm dating or anything like that. And you won't. I don't need to give you that. You want to talk about my job, football? We can talk about that. But this is my personal life. There's two separate lines. So I always try to keep that."
Beckham Jr.'s most high-profile moment in the spotlight came before the 2017 playoffs, when he and several New York Giants teammates made a pit stop in Miami to party on a boat. Their poor performance in a first round loss to the Green Bay Packers put Beckham Jr.'s off-field decision-making in question. It's important to note that Gronkowski typically saved his partying for offseasons.
"I watch other players in the NFL be able to go to Vegas and get wild and go onstage and be videotaped and chugging beer or whatever," Beckham Jr. added. "Going crazy. And it's like, 'Oh, man, look at how much fun he's having. Look at how he's having a blast! This is amazing.'"
Elsehwere in the wide-ranging GQ interview, Beckham said his sideline outbreaks are no different than Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's, but a racial double standard puts Brady on a pedestal and taints Beckham's reputation. It's quite possible Beckham Jr. believes that double standard can also be applied to his off-field habits, especially when compared to Gronkowski.
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The Patriots -- and all other NFL teams -- must cut their rosters to 53 by 4 p.m. Saturday, meaning nearly 1,200 players league-wide will hit the unemployment line this weekend. (More than 300 will be brought back on practice squads; the deadline to establish the practice squad is noon Sunday.) The Pats have traditionally been active on this weekend, so visit this page often to get the very latest.
WHAT'S HAPPENED SO FAR
- TRADES: Jordan Richards to Atlanta for conditional seventh-round pick
- CUTS: DL John Atkins, P Corey Bojorquez, RB Brandon Bolden, OL Luke Bowanko, OL Cole Croston, QB Danny Etling, RB Kenneth Farrow, OL James Ferentz, LB Marquis Flowers, RB Mike Gillislee, DL Trent Harris, CB Cyrus Jones, OL Jason King, LB Harvey Langi, DL Eric Lee, WR K.J. Maye, WR Riley McCarron, DB A.J. Moore, FB Henry Poggi, OL Brian Schwenke, OL Matt Tobin, DB Damarius Travis, TE Will Tye, DL Vincent Valentine, RB Ralph Webb and CB Jomal Wiltz.
- INJURED RESERVE: OL Isaiah Wynn, WR Braxton Berrios, LB Christian Sam and OL Ulrick John.
- SIGNINGS: None announced
AROUND THE LEAGUE
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The Patriots finally have all nine of their draft picks under contract.
The team announced that it signed its third-round quarterback Jacoby Brissett on Thursday. The North Carolina State product inked a four-year deal worth $3,410,832, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. That amount is more than 17 players drafted ahead of the No. 91 overall slot where Brissett was taken, Volin noted.
The 6-foot-4, 231-pound signal-caller is set to be the Patriots No. 2 quarterback for the first month of the season behind Jimmy Garoppolo should Tom Brady be forced to serve a four-game suspension for Deflategate. Brady is currently waiting to hear from the Second Circuit on whether or not that court will rehear his case.
Brissett's contract negotiations were unique on a few different accounts. First, he opted not to hire an agent during the pre-draft process. Instead, he was helped through the process by the NFLPA and by former NFL safety Abe Elam.
Brissett's negotiations were also complicated by the fact that he was drafted in the third round. Though rookie salaries are slotted based on draft position, the CBA allows for more creativity in the deals for third-rounders. One agent told the Florida Times-Union that the third round is the "wild, wild West" for negotiations.
Despite the fact that he was not technically under contract, Brissett was present for rookie minicamp, OTAs and mandatory minicamp. He showed a relatively accurate arm and good decision-making in team drills during practices open to the media, giving coach Bill Belichick two seemingly-capable young quarterbacks behind Tom Brady.