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Rob Gronkowski threatened to retire after trade to Lions proposed

September 23, 2018

A Detroit Free Press reporter caused millions to groan with a Super Bowl week headline that read, “Why the Detroit Lions must trade Matthew Stafford for Tom Brady.” But several months later, the Lions almost acquired a different offensive juggernaut from the New England Patriots.

The Patriots and Lions nearly completed a blockbuster trade to send tight end Rob Gronkowski to the Motor City last offseason, but Gronkowski derailed the trade by threatening to retire, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Instead, the Patriots ultimately reworked Gronkowski’s contract to add $4.3 million in incentives.

The Lions are now coached by longtime Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. But that didn’t mean Gronkowski, an All-Pro tight end, would be willing to play for them. Gronkowski would not return Detroit’s calls, and New England decided to go to the negotiating table with him, calling off the trade.

The Lions and Patriots play each other Week 3 on Sunday Night Football in Detroit.

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