Days before Rob Gronkowski retired, the tight end’s agent received a call from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, gave NBC Sports’ Peter King a timeline of events leading up the retirement.
Belichick called Rosenhaus on Thursday, checking in on Gronkowski, who was known to be considering retirement. Rosenhaus then told Gronkowski he should make a decision soon.
Three days later, Gronkowski told Rosenhaus he was retiring.
“It’s time,” Gronkowski told Rosenhaus, via King. “I just won another championship. I’m going out on top. I just want to do nothing for a while. I just want to be me. I just want to have fun.”
Gronkowski’s decision came nearly two weeks after NFL free agency began. His retirement freed up $9 million the Patriots could have spent on the open market. When Belichick called Rosenhaus, it’s entirely possible the Patriots still could have signed tight end Jared Cook, who’s joining the New Orleans Saints.
Perhaps that’s why some members of the Patriots are “chagrined,” according to King, by Gronkowski’s timing. They now have over $17 million in cap space to sign or trade for available veteran players.
Rosenhaus also told King he wouldn’t be shocked if Gronkowski still wound up playing next season.
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