Gronkowski tells Belichick in meeting he’ll be back

Staff file photo by TOM KING Rob Gronkowski, all smiles at the Super Bowl, informed Patriots coach Bill Belichick in a meeting he is indeed playing for the Patriots this season.

There is no more dancing around the issue for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Gronkowski announced on Instagram on Tuesday that he will indeed return to the Patriots for the 2018 season, after meeting with head coach Bill Belichick.

“I met with coach today and informed him I will be back for the 2018 season with the Pats,” Gronkowski posted on Instagram late Tuesday. “I have been working out, staying in shape and feel great. Looking forward to another championship run.”

There’s no indication of what issues, if any, were discussed in the meeting, but it obviously settled any uncertainty about the tight end’s future created by retirment rumors, fueled by his lack of commitment in a post-game Super Bowl press conference, and failure to take part in the first couple of weeks of the Patriots off-season conditioning program.

Then there was a strange promotional SuperCross press conference at Gillette Stadium on Saturdy that may or may not have irritated the Patriots to the point where things needed to be discussed in person.

Now, two days before the draft, the Patriots have a clearer picture of their roster.

Gronkowski has two years left on his contract, which will pay him a base salary of $8 million this season. Last year the Patriots added incentives to that. They now have some clarity before the draft, with tight ends Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, Jacob Hollister, Will Tye and Troy Niklas on the roster.