Rob Gronkowski shuts down rumors of Bill Belichick shopping Mac Jones: ‘I think that was fake news’
Retired NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski wants to dispel the notion that New England Patriots quarterback Mack Jones will end up playing elsewhere when the 2023 season begins.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced suggesting that Bill Belichick is shopping Jones to multiple teams amid a possible fracture in the relationship between coach and quarterback.
According to Pro Football Talk, Belichick contacted several teams, including the Raiders, Texans, Buccaneers and Commanders.
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“I think it was fake news,” Gronkowski said Wednesday during an appearance on FanDual TV’s “Up & Adams” show. “There was a lot of turnover this year.
“[Belichick] Already got a new offensive coordinator [and quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien] That he brought in place. Just the entire offensive staff was basically turned over this year, and then if you’re shipping your quarterback … that’s a lot of turnover to be in the NFL one season and be able to compete the next year.
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The four-time Super Bowl winner then doubled down on his position, saying, “So, I don’t think it’s real news. I think it’s fake news.”
Gronkowski acknowledged that the 2023-24 season could be the last season Belichick and Jones are together in New England.
“But, in the future, if Mack Jones doesn’t get it together this year with Billy O’Brien and all that, I can see that being a possibility after this season,” Gronkowski said. “But I don’t think that’s been true so far this offseason, and I have to stamp it as fake news.”
Gronkowski spent nine years playing with the Patriots and Tom Brady. After stepping away from football in 2019, he came out of retirement and won his fourth title after joining Brady in Tampa Bay for the 2020 season.
NBC Sports’ Tom E. Curran reported that Belichick was not happy that Jones had left the organization in an attempt to possibly fix the team’s offensive problems last season.
In February, Chris Simms of NBC Sports and the son of former New York Giants quarterback and Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil Simms said Jones’ actions put him in Belichick’s “doghouse.”
Belichick has yet to publicly respond to the report, but he doesn’t seem committed to the idea of Jones being the starting quarterback in 2023.
“Everybody’s going to get a chance to play. We’re going to play the best players,” Belichick said at last week’s NFL owners meeting when asked if Jones and backup quarterback Bailey Zappé would compete for the starting role.
After a tumultuous season in which Matt Patricia switched from coaching the ball defense to calling offensive plays in 2022, the Patriots brought Bill O’Brien back to New England to take over offensive coordinator duties in 2023.
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O’Brien previously coached Jones when Jones quarterbacked the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2021. In the 14 games Jones played last season, he completed 65.2% of his passes for 2,997 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.