These Rob Gronkowski quotes about 2017 season with Patriots are telling

These Gronk quotes from 2017 season with Patriots are telling originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

When was football no longer fun for Rob Gronkowski in New England? When not playing became more fun.

Gronkowski was an interview subject on the latest episode of Tom Brady's ESPN+ documentary series, "Man in the Arena," which aired Tuesday night and focused on the Patriots' 2017 season.

The former Patriots tight end spoke candidly in the episode about how that 2017 campaign wasn't all that enjoyable for him, even as he caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns to help lead New England back to the Super Bowl.

Gronk shares fitting reaction to Antonio Brown incident

"It was a tough season. It was a grind season, for sure. Let me tell you, it wasn’t really that fun of a year," Gronkowski said. "It was just a little eerie, the atmosphere with the Patriots."

Gronk's moment of clarity may have come that December, when he was suspended for the team's Week 14 game against Miami after spearing Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White the previous week.

"I was happy," Gronkowski said of learning about his suspension. "I was finally happy. I was like, ‘Yes, I’m away from football for a week. I get to recover my body.’ I mean, when you’re running full speed into people, it definitely was taking a toll on me.

" ... I lost a paycheck -- it was about $300,000, that game check -- and I didn’t even care one bit. I was just glad I had a week off from football, because I needed it."

Gronkowski felt that happiness in the absence of football again in February, after the Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII despite Gronk's monster effort (nine catches, 116 yards, two TDs).

"Just walking into the shower, talking to a couple of players, like, 'Yo man, great season, but I’m glad it’s over,'" Gronkowski recalled.

"It was long, it was eerie through the whole year. The energy, the atmosphere was just always off. It felt good to walk off the field and know that I didn’t have a game the next week."

Patriots Talk Podcast: Debating Mac Jones’ case for Offensive Rookie of the Year | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

If Gronkowski really felt this way, it's no wonder he retired after a 2018 season that also took a big toll on his body. But the tight end's comments further confirm that he also wasn't enjoying his situation in New England, all bumps and bruises aside.

So, while it was surprising to see Gronk come out of retirement to join Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 after insisting he wanted his body to heal, perhaps he just needed a break and a fresh start somewhere else.

If we had to bet whether the 44-year-old Brady or the 32-year-old Gronkowski will last longer with the Bucs, though, we're still taking the GOAT.

Adblock test (Why?)