The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made another huge splash this offseason when they traded for tight end Rob Gronkowski, luring the future Hall of Famer out of a brief retirement and sending a fourth-round pick to the New England Patriots for his rights.
We know Gronkowski had already talked with Tom Brady about joining his former teammate on his new team, but just how much of a head start did he have in preparing for a new scheme?
Gronkowski claims he had Tampa Bay's playbook weeks before he was traded, according to Pro Football Talk:
Appearing Saturday on the Bud Light Seltzter “Drafterparty,” Gronk said regarding the fact that Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been studying the team’s playbook for weeks, “I was in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers playbook four weeks ago, and I wasn’t even on the team.”
It's not necessarily a rules violation that Gronkowski had the playbook, but it could be if the Bucs are the ones who gave it to him, considering he would have still been under contract with the Patriots at the time.
Brady and the Bucs avoided any trouble for the quarterback's brief visit to pick up his own playbook from Byron Leftwich recently, but depending on the details, this one could end up hurting the franchise in their pocketbook.
UPDATE: Gronkowski posted a statement on Twitter late Wednesday night addressing the situation, claiming he was just joking around about having the playbook early: