Rob Gronkowski will be likely be itching to get back on the field with his new team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The tight end came out of retirement and was instantly traded to the Buccaneers where he will reunite with the most decorated quarterback in the history of the NFL - Tom Brady. However, a lot would have been different if Gronkowski's trade to the Detriot Lions would have gone through.
The trade deal - where the Lions would receive Rob Gronkowski and a second-round pick while the Patriots would receive a first-round and a second-round pick - was agreed by both parties. However, Rob Gronkowski's threat to retire instead of being traded eventually caused the deal to fall through.
Two years after the deal fell through, Gronkowski opened up on he fooled the Patriots and Lions that he was already retired and hence could not be traded. Speaking to FOX News, Gronkowski said that the Lions trade could have potentially altered his career. The tight end revealed that back in 2018 he was seriously contemplating retirement when he got the news that he was traded.
Gronkowski proceeded to say, "I was like, you just traded me, but I’m retired. I don’t know how that trade can go through, and two days later the trade never went through.” Reports from 2018 even suggested that Rob Gronkowski did not reply to calls from Lions head coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn to discuss personal terms.
After the trade fell through, Lions acquired tight end T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James. Meanwhile, Gronkowski went to play a big part in the 2018 NFL season and went on to lift his third Super Bowl title in February 2019. A month later, Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL after battling injuries for the past two seasons.
Fast forward to April 2020 and after enjoying a one-year hiatus from the NFL, the 30-year-old came out of retirement with the hope of rekindling his partnership with Tom Brady at Tampa Bay. His short retirement saw Gronkowski enjoy success in various ventures including reality TV and WWE. Now a 24/7 champion in WWE, the tight end will be looking to defend the title along with starring for the Buccaneers this season.