Gronkowski ‘Happy’ to Be Suspended for Infamous Play Against Bills

Rob Gronkowski

Getty Rob Gronkowski runs after making a catch against the Buffalo Bills.

Rob Gronwkowski was already a hated man with many Buffalo Bills fans, and his new revelation about the punishment he received for an infamous hit on Tre’Davious White in 2017 isn’t likely to change that.

Gronkowski, then a member of the New England Patriots, was flagged for unnecessary roughness for driving his elbow into the back of White’s neck after the Bills cornerback intercepted a Tom Brady pass and was lying face-down on the turf. Gronkowski was ultimately fined and suspended for one week, but the tight end now explains that it was actually a welcome punishment.

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Gronkowski Discusses the Infamous Play

Many Bills fans are still angry about the play, which took place in the final minutes of a 23-3 Patriots win. After White intercepted a pass, he fell to the ground and was touched by a Patriots defender to end the play. Seconds later, Gronkowski ran from behind White and jumped onto his back, hitting the Bills cornerback from behind and sending him into the concussion protocol.

Gronkowski is now opening up about the play for the documentary on Brady’s career, “Man In The Arena.” The tight end explained that he was actually happy to be suspended, saying he enjoyed getting a mandatory break from football.

“I lost a game check, it was about $300,000,” Gronkowski said, via CBS Boston. “I didn’t care one bit. I was just glad I had a week off from football because I needed it.”

Gronkowski said that while the Patriots would ultimately reach the Super Bowl later that season, it had been a very difficult time for both him and his teammates.

“There was a lot of guys, including myself, that just weren’t really having a good time,” he said. “We would just show up to show up, go out to practice. I mean we did what we needed to do, we were winning games still. It definitely was taking a toll on me.”


Anger Lingers Over Gronk’s Hit

For Bills fans — many of whom already disliked Gronkowski before the hit for his tendency to roast Buffalo’s defenses twice a year — the anger over the play had not subsided. When Gronkowski fondly recalled his upbringing in suburban Buffalo last month, saying how he and his friends would pretend to be Bills players when they played football together, some fans reacted in anger.

In the days after the hit, White said that the play could have ended his career and put his long-term health at serious risk.

My life is way more important than football. I’ve got a son to raise, man,” White said, via WKBW in Buffalo. “I’m down there with back turned, head to the ground, and somebody sneakin’ me. I mean, I could have broke my neck. It could have paralyzed me. Nobody thinks about that, they think about football. At the end of the day, if football ends today or tomorrow, I’ll be fine as long as I’m able to walk, and raise my son and do the things that I want to do.”

White was ultimately able to clear the league’s concussion protocol before the next game, and said later that season that he put the hit behind him. Many Bills don’t seem to share the sentiment.

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Richard Perry
Richard Perry
4 months ago

I remember this game and play. Gronkowski reverted to what he is – a bully if he can’t get his way. He jumped on top of White like it was WWE wrestling. What should have happened is that Erie County police should have come out on the field, handcuff him, led him off to the field, and taken Gronk to the nearest justice court and had him arraigned on assault charges. Now it turns out, he is laughing the whole thing off.

Eric Nipe Sr.
Eric Nipe Sr.
4 months ago

This is a big problem. That this player is saying this. He needs to be suspended for a season. To send a loud and clear message. That trying to intentionally hurt another player will not be tolerated. In my book. He is a disgrace to the NFL. Anyone that wants to hurt another player should be banned for life.

Henry Simpson
Henry Simpson
4 months ago

If he is so happy about it maybe the league should grant him another couple of weeks off. I firstly think any player that is out for unnecessary roughness causing a concussion should be out until the concussed returns.

Brian Clements
Brian Clements
4 months ago
Reply to  Henry Simpson

But in that case he wouldn’t even have missed the game he was suspended for because White was able to return the following week. 🤷‍♂️

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