Bill Belichick reportedly called Rob Gronkowski's college coach before the 2010 NFL draft to ask if the tight end was an 'a--hole'

Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

  • Bill Belichick called Arizona football head coach Mike Stoops before the 2010 NFL draft to ask about Rob Gronkowski, according to a report.
  • Belichick reportedly asked Stoops if Gronkowski was an “a–hole,” to which Stoops gave an emphatic “no” and encouraged Belichick and the New England Patriots to draft the tight end.
  • The Patriots selected Gronkowski, who before retiring this year, had one of the best careers in the franchise’s history.

Rob Gronkowski’s decorated career with the New England Patriots may have hinged on a single phone call before the 2010 NFL Draft.

Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday after nine seasons with the Patriots in which he won three Super Bowls, made four All-Pro teams, five Pro Bowl teams, and became the franchise leader in receiving touchdowns.

ESPN and The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo said on Bill Simmons’ podcast this week that before the draft, Belichick called Gronkowski’s coach at Arizona, Mike Stoops, to ask him a simple question.

“He’s like, ‘Alright, what’s the deal with this Gronk guy? This guy an a–hole or what?'” Belichick said to Stoops, according to Russillo.

“[Stoops] is like, ‘No! He’s a big teddy bear. He’s unbelievable. You’re gonna love him. You’re gonna love having him around. All he cares about it is winning. He’s absolutely everything you’d want in a guy.'”

Belichick reportedly responded, “Alright, cool,” and ended the conversation. The Patriots ended up taking Gronkowski in the second round with the 42nd overall pick.

The story seems to follow one of Belichick’s draft methods, which is apparently only taking players he likes.

Urban Meyer once revealed a conversation he had with Belichick about his roster-building methods, and Belichick revealed it to be remarkably simple.

“He said: ‘At this point in my career, I want to coach guys I like. I want to coach guys I want to be around, and that’s it, and I’m not going to coach anybody else,'” Meyer said of his conversation with Belichick.

Read more:
Bill Belichick explained one of his philosophies for building a team, and it’s hilariously simple

Gronkowski, of course, proved to be everything the Patriots wanted. He was a dominant tight end of the field, but even with his known love of partying, Gronkowski never seemed to brush up against the “Patriot Way,” which proved Stoops’ analysis to be accurate.

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