Morning sports update: James Harrison said Rob Gronkowski was ‘talking about’ a comeback in 2019

"That whole process was not a surprise to me."

James Harrison New England Patriots
James Harrison after the AFC Championship in 2018. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The sports world tuned in for the latest installments of ESPN’s 10-part documentary about Michael Jordan on Sunday night.

In the final scene of the seventh episode, Jordan offered an emotional explanation for why he pushed his teammates so hard in the pursuit of victory:

James Harrison on when he knew Rob Gronkowski would make a comeback: Throughout the 2019 season, speculation continued until almost the end of the year about whether tight end Rob Gronkowski would make a comeback with the Patriots and Tom Brady.

But a former New England linebacker said he had an inkling then that Gronkowski would do what he finally did in 2020 (and return to the NFL).


James Harrison, who played for 14 years with the Steelers before briefly joining the Patriots during the 2017 season, said he got a glimpse at Gronkowski’s desire to return to football when the two filmed a Super Bowl commercial together in November 2019.

“I knew then that he was going to come back,” Harrison said in an interview with TMZ Sports. “He was talking about it, he was itching then. He was feeling a lot better, you know get a year off, you get to heal your body.”

“That whole process was not a surprise to me,” Harrison added of Gronkowski’s comeback.

Harrison said that the filming took place months before Gronkowski’s comeback with the Buccaneers came together, but that the 30-year-old was already talking about a return. Harrison admitted that he didn’t foresee the tight end returning to play for the Buccaneers, but that was more due to Brady being months away from his free agent departure from New England.

“Once [Brady] got there, it was like yeah, makes sense.”

Regarding Brady’s decision to leave the Patriots, Harrison — like many — was caught by surprise.

“To be honest with you, I really didn’t see him leaving,” Harrison said of Brady. “I just couldn’t comprehend it.”


Trivia: Eight pitchers in Red Sox history have recorded more than 1,000 strikeouts during their time with the team. Can you name them?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: Their initials are JB, RC, BH, JL, PM, LT, TW, CY

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Isaiah Thomas’s main takeaway from Sonics’ appearance in “The Last Dance”:

On this day: In 1972, the Bruins defeated the Rangers 3-0 to win a second Stanley Cup in three seasons. The Game 6 triumph came thanks to a goal from Bobby Orr and two from Wayne Cashman. Gerry Cheevers’s “inspirational” play — making 33 saves — helped to anchor Boston’s championship.

Also on this day, in 1997, IBM’s “Deep Blue” computer defeated chess champion Gary Kasparov.

Classic rewind: Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird. Nothing but net.

Trivia answer: Josh Beckett, Roger Clemens, Bruce Hurst, Jon Lester, Pedro Martinez, Luis Tiant, Tim Wakefield, Cy Young.


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