By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Look, the world is not all sunshine and rainbows. It's not all cupcakes and candy. It's not a global campfire at which we can all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. The world is a rough place. We know this.
Still, in the fantasy land that is the world of sports, some things can and should have happy endings. And in New England, the latest news from Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski -- two all-time greats, two surefire Hall of Famers, two former pillars of the Patriots' organization -- is simply a bummer.
On Gronkowski, the 32-year-old made it clear this week that he still harbors a lot of ill will toward his former team and his former boss.
Perhaps that's a bit of an assumption; Bill Belichick did, after all, attend the Gronk beach party while sporting his finest leisure shirt in Miami. But there was clearly some lingering soreness with Gronkowski found in his "joke" with Jimmy Kimmel this week about how the Patriots would probably bench players to prevent them from hitting contract incentives and earning extra money.
Gronkowski obviously had his issues with the Patriots, from the joint statements with his family on his health, to his summer of Motocross fun in 2018, to threatening retirement upon catching wind of a potential trade to Detroit. He also recently had a lot to say about how bad of a time he had in the 2017 season.
But ... he certainly got paid by the Patriots. When he signed a six-year, $54 million deal with the Patriots in 2012, it was the richest contract ever for a tight end at the time. He did fail to reach some incentives in 2017, getting zero targets in Week 17, when he needed 11 receptions or 116 receiving yards to earn a $2 million bonus. But that was also a year when Gronkowski got himself suspended and missed an entire game, so it's not as if the Patriots conspired to keep him from earning the money.
Whatever the case, Gronkowski's made it pretty clear for four years running that he's not enamored with the New England football operation. For someone who was that good and that gregarious, that's a bummer. No doubt about it.
The situation with Tom Brady might be an even larger disappointment, and it's kind of flying under the radar.
Mike Florio reported this week -- for the second time -- that the Miami Dolphins seriously intended to make Tom Brady a minority owner of the team. Reaction to this news has largely been along the lines of understanding that Brady and his wife may be partial to South Florida, that Brady's a businessman and thus is interested in expanding his portfolio, that Brady's too big for Tampa and sought the bright lights of Miami, and other such common-sense, real-world rationalizations.
But again, this is not the real world. It's the sports world. And in the sports world ...
THOMAS EDWARD PATRICK BRADY JR. SHOULD NOT BE A PART-OWNER OF THE MIAMI DOLPHINS.
THE MIAMI DOLPHINS ARE A DIVISION RIVAL OF THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS,
THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ARE THE TEAM WHERE TOM BRADY ESTABLISHED HIMSELF AS THE GREATEST QUARTERBACK IN THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT, THE TEAM WITH WHOM AND FOR WHOM HE WON SIX FREAKING SUPER BOWLS, THE PLACE WHERE BRADY WENT FROM A LARGELY UNKNOWN SIXTH-ROUND DRAFT PICK TO A LEGEND OF THE GAME.
GILLETTE STADIUM SHOULD HAVE MULTIPLE STATUES OF TOM BRADY.
Actually, check that:
GILLETTE STADIUM SHOULD BE NAMED TOM BRADY STADIUM.
At the very least,
IF TOM BRADY IS GOING TO ENTER THE BUSINESS OF THE NFL AS A PARTIAL OWNER OF A FOOTBALL TEAM, THEN HE SHOULD BE DOING SO WITH THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS.
Alas, Brady's gone. Long gone. Been gone for two years now. And he's not coming back.
We understand that to be the case as a player, surely. But if he's already strategizing behind the scenes to begin his post-playing career in the NFL with ... the Miami Dolphins?
Brother, that stinks.
It didn't have to be this way. While teams shouldn't necessarily kowtow to every demand of every superstar player, there are always certain accommodations made for players of a certain caliber. At a certain point with these two -- a duo that currently has the second-most touchdown connections in the history of the sport -- it became too much for New England -- the massage tables with Tom, the injury and surgery disagreements with Rob, whatever else we don't know about. Their last moment together in Patriots gear involved a diving catch to set up the touchdown that won a Super Bowl. It was a heck of a moment.
But the world kept spinning. The relationships ended. Such is life.
But sports aren't real life. They don't have to be, anyway. In the case of these two -- with Brady completely ignoring the Patriots in his fake retirement announcement, with Gronkowski taking random shots on late-night TV out of the blue -- it's too bad things aren't quite as wonderful as they could be. They still clearly hold a fondness for Robert Kraft, and he reciprocates that feeling. But the relationships appear to be firmly cemented in the past much more than the present, thus putting into question their future.
That doesn't have to be the case. And it really shouldn't be the case.
If that comes across as a fantastical aspiration or idealistic romanticism, that's because it is. But imagining that world instead of one where Tom Brady is a part-owner of the Miami freaking Dolphins is a lot better than real life.
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