Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski Takes Subtle Jab at Bill Belichick

by Chris Haney

During a recent interview, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski seemed to take a subtle jab at his former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Gronkowski joined his former Pats teammate Willie McGinest for an interview over the weekend. Some of the tight end’s comments have come off as more condemnation of Belichick. His comments are fuel to the fire that is the souring relationship of Belichick and New England’s longtime QB Tom Brady.

The three-time Super Bowl winner spoke about the differences between Belichick and his current Bucs head coach Bruce Arians. Belichick runs a tight ship in New England, and Gronkowski shared thoughts on the lack of freedom within his former team.

McGinest asked the tight end about some of the differences of playing for Belichick in comparison to Arians. Gronkowski said that both are great coaches and spoke highly of each. However, you could see the excitement in Gronk’s eyes when he spoke about playing for Arians who is more laid back than Belichick.

“One of the biggest (differences), I would just say, the freedom of just being yourself with the coaches. You know what I mean, Willie?” Gronkowski explained.

“Oh, I know what you mean, man. You know, come on. I’ve been there and I left, and I’ve been other places,” McGinest responded, seeming to agree.

Rob Gronkowski Adds Another Veiled Jab in His Comments

Rob Gronkowski’s subtle jabs at Belichick didn’t stop there in the interview. There’s been an ongoing debate for months about who was more integral to New England’s two-decade-long dynasty: Belichick or Brady.

The tipping point of their power struggle came at the end of last season when Brady chose to leave New England for Tampa Bay. Gronkowski also came out of retirement to join Brady in Florida. As for the rivalry from afar, the Bucs are currently in the playoffs, and one game away from the Super Bowl. In contrast, Belichick and the Patriots missed out on the playoffs with a 7-9 record.

Early on in Gronkowski’s conversation with McGinest, he shared a statistic with his former teammate.

“I’ve been playing football in the NFL for 10 years, and I’ve been in the playoffs for all 10 years, baby. That’s what’s up, Willie!” Gronkowski said.

Many will take that as another sly remark from the tight end pointed at his former coach. Gronkowski played the first nine seasons of his career in New England, and was arguably the best tight end in the NFL during most of those seasons. Yet, on the back end of their careers, he and Brady are still playing for Super Bowl rings in Tampa while Belichick and the Pats are watching the playoffs at home like the rest of us.

Were his comments directed at Belichick, or is it just Gronk being Gronk? You can watch Willie McGinest’s interview with Rob Gronkowski below.