Fresh off one rules controversy involving a playbook and a former member of the New England Patriots, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have just walked into another.
Newly signed Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski made an interesting revelation on Saturday during an appearance on Bud Light Seltzer’s “Drafterparty” while discussing quarterback Joe Burrow reportedly studying the Cincinnati Bengals’ playbook for weeks before the draft.
“I was in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers playbook four weeks ago, and I wasn’t even on the team,” Gronkowski said, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
Obviously, Gronkowski wasn’t a member of the Buccaneers on March 28, which was exactly four weeks prior to last Saturday. At that point, he was technically under contract with the Patriots and on the reserve/retired list, though Tom Brady had been an official member of the Buccaneers for a week.
Sources: Retired #Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has told New England that he’s interested in playing football again — and would want to do it with the #Bucs and QB Tom Brady. A trade would have to be worked out for this to happen.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 21, 2020
Gronk says he was joking
Gronkowski later tweeted that he was joking when saying he received the playbook, and that he had actually just received his playbook tablet from the Bucs on Wednesday.
The box reportedly remains unopened.
Is Rob Gronkowski receiving a playbook illegal?
Florio noted Gronkowski theoretically having another playbook in itself isn’t a rule violation, but a team giving a playbook to a player under contract with another team as part of an under-the-table recruiting pitch before he requested a trade sounds like something out of NBA land.
The Buccaneers were already raising some eyebrows when it emerged that Brady picked up his own playbook via a personal visit to the house of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.
Some teams reportedly asked if Brady and Leftwich were breaking NFL rules with the meeting, but the NFL later clarified that the “brief personal visit” was fine. Even if Gronkowski was really joking, the league might want to get ready for another round of questioning.
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