Gronkowski boasts that he had Buccaneers playbook while still under contract with Patriots

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Some within the league think that the Buccaneers took a swashbuckler’s approach to landing quarterback Tom Brady, ignoring rarely-applied tampering rules in order to ensure that they got their man. And it worked; no one has seriously questioned whether the Bucs had premature communications with Brady (even though the circumstances suggest they did), in the same way the league has turned a blind eye to Brady meeting with Buccaneers coaches in violation of the offseason workout rules.

And now it’s possible that the Bucs may have fractured a rule or two in the pursuit of tight end Rob Gronkowski. Appearing Saturday on the Bud Light Seltzter “Drafterparty,” Gronk said regarding the fact that Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been studying the team’s playbook for weeks, “I was in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers playbook four weeks ago, and I wasn’t even on the team.”

While Gronk having the playbook may not be a rules violation in and of itself, how he got it could be. Until he was traded last week from New England to Tampa Bay, Gronkowski continued to be under contract with the Patriots. If the Buccaneers were having direct communications with Gronk about joining the team, and if getting him the playbook was simply part of the process, that could be a potential problem for Tampa Bay.

The Patriots did not respond to a request for comment as to whether they authorized communications between the Buccaneers and Gronkowski prior to the something-for-nothing trade that allowed New England to get compensation for a guy who was never going to play for them again. And the Patriots generally didn’t seem to be inclined to make a stink about potential tampering that may have occurred with Brady in February or March, by the Buccaneers or anyone else.

Regardless, Gronk’s decision to blurt out the fact that he had a Bucs playbook weeks before the Patriots traded him to Tampa could could require the league to engage in the same kind of tightrope-walking that excused Brady’s meeting with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, ostensibly to pick up a playbook.

Maybe the explanation this time around will be that Brady was picking up a copy of the playbook that, unbeknownst to the Buccaneers, he planned to give to Gronk.

60 responses to “Gronkowski boasts that he had Buccaneers playbook while still under contract with Patriots

  1. Cheaters gonna cheat.

    This all stinked the whole process. I would bet nothing would happen in normal times.

    It sure as heck is not now.

  2. As the saying goes, karma is a you-know-what, and at the rate they’re going, the Bucs will crash and burn by week 4…

  3. 4 game suspension seems appropriate in this case but Goodell would not dare.

  4. Did the league “turn a blind eye to Brady meeting with Bucs’ coaches?” Or did the league look into Brady meeting with a *single* Buccaneer coach and find it was a nothing burger?

  5. At least he did not draft a QB in the second round when you signed your franchise quarterback for 127 million

  6. Wow. I mean, this is technically tampering.

    How many times are teams going to cheat the Pats like these tampering incidents?

    If NE had done this to another team, the outrage would be enormous.

  7. Isn’t it possible that Mr. Brady shared his Bucs playbook with Mr. Gronk? Is that a violation? Don’t know. Probably violates team rules…

  8. Football and the political scene in the USA are both so dirty that it makes one lose faith in everything. I once knew who and what I believed. No longer, I don’t believe nothing.

  9. As a Pats fan, ho hum. If it were the Pats, people would be going crazy, but it’s the Bucs so no big deal. Which btw neither case is.

  10. Paste my Home Alone shocked face here… this doesn’t happen literally everywhere

  11. You know what really obscene, Jerry Jones, who got $325MM in public money to build his $1.3B stadium, social distancing from his yacht during the NFL draft.

    CTE is obscene.

    Please stop with the breaking the rules talk. Did we not learn anything from Deflategate?

  12. When I saw the headline I assumed he meant this was like 3 years ago because they had everybody’s playbook.

  13. jimmytheeagle says:
    April 29, 2020 at 6:20 pm
    At least he did not draft a QB in the second round when you signed your franchise quarterback for 127 million
    Could be worse. You could be dealing with a team that traded up three meaningless slots in the first round to take a QB project with accuracy issues.

  14. And that’s not including the video tape of every team’s practice. I’m sure the Patriots still have their back-up teams still taping since their primary team got caught last season in Cincinnati.

  15. You have to think a player gave Gronk the playbook. The next question is what player, and when? How many days has Brady been a Buc, and when did he get a playbook? Could it be shades on New England now happening on the Bucs? Then you have to wonder why in the world with Gronk make that statement? Too many questions without answers? This could get interesting if the NFL investigates.

  16. If it’s true Gronk has never spent a dime of his game checks then stupid should be the next big thing.

  17. I’m still mad that the Chiefs lost a draft pick for talking to maclin. This seems worse no? Maclin was an unrestricted free agent. Gronkowski was still officially a Patriot. Oh well. There are some dumb rules in the NFL.

  18. You can take the Gronk out of New England, but you can’t take the Gronk out of Gronk.

  19. You can also take Brady out of New England to the Bucs and he won’t throw 30 interceptions in three years.

  20. That’s ok. Bill Bellichik has every teams playbook on a big shelf right behind his desk.

  21. The Pats don’t care, but what is the deal with cheating? I assume all the teams are doing it but not everyone is bragging about it.

  22. whining is for losers (e.g. some comments above) , BB won’t saya thing other than water under the bridge.

  23. The NFL only considers it tampering when it happens to any other team besides NE.

  24. Wiseman once said that it’s better to be quiet and thought to be dumb than to speak up and remove all doubt.

  25. “thetooloftools says:
    April 29, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    I just read Roger Goodell is giving up his salary for the entire year.”

    It’s pro-rated, even though he’s no pro.

  26. I’d be surprised if the Patriots don’t already have every other team’s playbook given their history of cheating.

  27. You know what Gronk didnt have ??

    A New England Patriots playbook…

    Since he wasnt in the league.

  28. I have a question, if Brady only got his playbook a couple weeks ago from Leftwich how would Gronk already be looking at his before then?

  29. Patriots cheated? First round draft pick and 1 mill… Oh, it was the Bucs? Never mind. Carry on.

  30. At this rate,even if Kraft doesn’t file a complaint, some of the other owners might agitated Goodell into starting one. It’s the type of thing the league office tends to come down hard on, because the Bucs seem to be making a mockery of the league’s ruleset – and worse, doing it publicly.

  31. You can take the boy out of New England, but you can’t take New England out of the boy.

  32. As the late, great Dale Earnhardt said, “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.”

  33. Modern society:
    – Say something incredibly stupid to the media.
    – Later, say you were just kidding or being sarcastic.
    Welcome to America.

  34. Wait….is he saying that Tampa Bay has actual pre-defined plays? From watching Jameis Winston I would not have know that.

  35. Time for Tampa to loose draft picks be fined millions and millions of dollars and Tom Brady to be suspended for the season

  36. whenwilliteverend says:
    April 29, 2020 at 9:32 pm
    I’d be surprised if the Patriots don’t already have every other team’s playbook given their history of cheating.

    By cheating do you mean having a camera in plain view 3′ too far to the left or playing games in cold weather?

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