Across the NFL, stars are sitting out in hopes of securing new contracts. Le’Veon Bell is ready to shed the franchise tag. Aaron Donald wants a new deal. Earl Thomas would like to restructure his. There’s a superstar in New England who’d love to see some changes on his payslip as well, but Rob Gronkowski said he never considered staying away from training camp.
“No, it hasn’t even came close to considering that,” the Pro Bowl tight end told reporters after practice Thursday. “Not even one bit. What I can do, though, is keep preparing, keep showing up every day, keep doing what I’ve got to do to get better.”
The Patriots have reportedly been working on a contract restructure with Gronkowski for much of the offseason. While that process has yet to produce a new deal, he’s keeping his focus on the field and letting the negotiations play out internally.
“There’s one thing I can do,” Gronkowski said. “There’s one thing I can worry about and there’s one thing that I can control and that’s myself. That’s my play. That’s me going out there doing what I’ve got to do to help the team.”
The 29-year old will take the field this season under an even brighter spotlight than usual. While Gronkowski brought some of the attention on himself with his vague statements about a possible retirement, the attention from opposing defenses will be increased because of Julian Edelman’s suspension and Danny Amendola’s move to Miami.
He’s not feeling any additional pressure.
“There’s been pressure ever since I got here and it’s to do a good job,” Gronkowski said. “So whatever my job is asked to do, whatever I get asked to do, I’ve got to go out there no matter what it is and perform to the best of my abilities to do what the coaches ask.”
Ahead of training camp, the tight end told Sports Illustrated that he skipped the Patriots’ optional offseason workouts because he wanted to make sure he could endure another season — “physically and mentally.” All systems appear to be a go now that training camp has arrived. Gronkowski noted working with trainer Alex Guerrero “definitely helped out” and answered in the affirmative when asked if he was happy in Foxborough.
“I said it earlier this summer, the game of football is amazing to play, and I’ll repeat it again,” he said. “What I learned is how to keep feeling good and keep going and keep enjoying the game of football.”