Patriots

Morning sports update: Ian Rapoport explained how Tom Brady helped initiate the Rob Gronkowski trade

"As soon as Brady went to Tampa, I started hearing rumors about this."

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski celebrating a touchdown. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The dominant news in New England sports broke a little after 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday when the Patriots traded Rob Gronkowski to the Buccaneers.

The deal, in which a hitherto retired Gronkowski was sent to Tampa along with seventh-round pick in return for a fourth-round pick, sent shockwaves around the NFL.

After the trade was done, Brady commented on an NFL Instagram that showed his 2019 video with Gronkowski saying, “Run it back.” He later re-posted a Gronkowski-themed video on his social media:

View this post on Instagram

Time to run it back Gronky!

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

Ian Rapoport on the Gronkowski trade: As one of the reporters who broke the news on the Gronkowski trade Tuesday, NFL insider Ian Rapoport predictably had some interesting backstory to share about the deal during a Wednesday interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”

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“As soon as Brady went to Tampa, I started hearing rumors about this,” Rapoport explained of the Gronkowski comeback. “And I know I wasn’t alone. I know other reporters were hearing it too, and every once in a while someone else would throw out a, ‘Here’s this rumor I’m hearing,’ or whatever.”

Brady reportedly told teams about potentially adding Gronkowski during his free agent process in March.

“He told [teams] in the process who were actually interested and had offers, that he wanted to bring Gronk with him,” said Rapoport. “So that much I knew. But that was still like a third of the story because Gronk still needed to actually want to come back and be ready to come back and then the Patriots had to deal him. There are so many things that had to happen.

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“Then I get a call yesterday that was like, ‘Hey man, this might sound crazy, but you should probably check on this,'” Rapoport continued. “And then from zero to six minutes, I was able to tweet it. I had three people corroborate and then one called right after I tweeted. I’ve never had a news story go from literally rumors to breaking in six minutes like that. It just never happens.”

The swift timing was also an indication that the trade had been kept private until it was almost done.

“By that point, the Patriots and the Bucs were already deep in talks, they already basically had a deal, and Gronk had already taken his physical,” Rapoport explained. “They were just waiting on the results, and obviously [he] passed. The whole thing was bananas, but the fact that Gronk left the door open at every single turn and actually said he was coming back was pretty astounding yesterday.”

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With the draft coming up later this week, Rapoport also shared his continued thought that the Patriots will draft a quarterback, saying he believes it will happen in the first three rounds.

Trivia: Who has the most wild pitches in Red Sox history with 125?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He was originally drafted as a second baseman.

More from Boston.com:

Brandon Bolden’s reaction to the Gronkowski trade:

The current odds on where Tua Tagovailoa will be drafted:

On this day: In 2016, Isaiah Thomas scored 42 points to help the Celtics win Game 3 of their first round series against the Hawks 111-103.

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Daily highlight: Quarantine has gotten progressively complicated for this trick shot artist.

Trivia answer: Tim Wakefield

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