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How Rob Gronkowski nixed a trade to the Lions in 2018

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

In a whirlwind on Monday, Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski unretired from football and was traded by the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he will reunite with his good buddy Tom Brady.

Even though 2020 will mark the first time Gronk will suit up for an NFL team other than the Patriots, it wasn’t actually the first time he was traded.

It turns out the Patriots tried to deal him in 2018. They actually agreed to ship Gronkowski to the Detroit Lions in a deal that reportedly would have sent first- and second-round picks to the Patriots and a second-round pick to Detroit along with Gronk.

Gronk wanted no part of that so he threatened to retire if the deal went through. The Lions failed to call his bluff and Gronk stayed with the Patriots.

He loves to laugh about it now:

And why wouldn’t he?

Gronk wound up winning a third Super Bowl with the Patriots that season and retired shortly afterwards, what turned out to be a one-year hiatus from the NFL.