Need a Gronk replacement? Scouts, we’re ready to play
It’s been NFL Scouting Combine Week, and yours truly has been all ready.
Height: About 5-11
Weight: Ask my agent. Let you know when I get one.
40 time: About four minutes.
Vertical Leap: Maybe an inch without injury, higher if there’s a pizza held above.
Wingspan: Depends on what’s two stations down on the buffet.
Bench Press: 40 pounds if you include the bar.
Wonderlic Test Score: Great if it’s multiple choice/open book.
There, NFL, you have a prime prospect.
All kidding aside, the Scouting Combine has become the event to open the offseason, and it’s going to be a busy NFL offseason at that. Will it be that way for your New England Patriots? It’s hard to predict how they’ll react.
One thing’s for sure, there’s been enough whining since the Super Bowl loss, and even before it, that sometime someone has to say enough is enough.
The Rob Gronkowski situation takes the cake. Gronkowski didn’t have any fun last season, we’re told. Waaaaaa. He couldn’t train the way he wanted to apparently another controversy around Tom Brady’s guru, Alex Guerrero. Waaaa. Memo to players: The Patriots have a training staff that are likely paid pretty well to keep players as healthy as possible. Suck it up and do what they tell you.
Now, if you would say Gronkowski wants to retire because he’s tired of being banged up and beaten up, that would make sense. The shelf life for NFL tight ends and running backs is normally not very long as they take the most pounding. Gronkowski has had multiple surgeries, etc., and it would really make sense for him to retire. Plus, given Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s penchant for dealing a player away a year early rather than a year late, it wouldn’t be shocking if another team Honks for Gronk and the Patriots answer back. But all the retirment/wrestling blather that is out there is mainly Gronkowski’s agent Drew Rosenhaus’s coy way of angling for more money for his client.
That became pretty clear when Rosenhaus bobbed and weaved during an interview with Pro Football Talk on Friday, saying there was no timetable for Gronkowski to decide on his future, blah, blah, and that he couldn’t reveal whether the Patriots gave them an ultimatum, blah, blah.
The Patriots won’t fall for it, nor should they. They’ll let Gronkowski moan and groan through the media, tweet his strange messages, etc., and then do whatever fits their plans, probably sweeten the pot with incentives. Or dump him.
As for all the other high tensions in the Brady-Belichick-Robert Kraft circus, everyone needs to calm down. Now is every personnel move the Patriots make going to be seen as either a victory or a defeat for general manager Brady? The theories are getting out of hand. Never, ever, ever has there been so much attention given to a backup quarterback than in New England.
Granted, Belichick brings a lot of this on himself because he simply doesn’t talk to the media unless he absolutely has to. And then when he does, it’s a waste of time anyway because he rarely says anything. The Patriots were one of the few teams that didn’t hold a press conference at the Combine.
Thus the rumor mill ends up working overtime. That’s OK, it’s part of the fun and what fuels the media business.
But one thing is for certain: The Patriots will make changes this off-season. You have to think a few familiar names will be gone. The NFL free agency legal tampering period (when contracts can be discussed) begins March 12, and deals can be signed beginning March 14.
The latest rage is the Patriots trading for corners Richard Sherman or Aqib Talib. Memo to Patriots fans: The team has drafted poorly the last couple of years and needs to restock with younger, faster players. That should be the priority, unless the prices begin in the sixth round.
You see, in football, you have to think younger, faster, stronger or you’re not going to stay good for long. The Patriots have been lucky, getting a lot out of stop gap veterans over the last few years.
But if you want to veer away from the norm, we’re ready. Pro Day workouts available upon request.
Tom King can be reached at 594-1251, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Telegraph_TomK.