Bill Belichick is known for being extremely complimentary of his next opponent’s stars and coaches. He gave the San Francisco 49ers’ Greg Kittle the treatment earlier this week with some pretty lofty comments. In the process, Belichick seemed to take a little jab at former player Rob Gronkowski.
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Greg Kittle Praise, Rob Gronkowski Diss
Earlier in the week, Belichick was asked about the Patriots’ upcoming opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, their head coach Kyle Shanahan, starting quarterback and former Patriot Jimmy Garoppolo, and the team’s elite tight end Kittle.
Belichick did the rounds with his compliments, but he seemed to lean in a little extra with his Kittle praise. Belichick said:
I’d put him right at the top of the league there, period. His ability to run, catch, get open, after the catch, block, he does everything at a high level. He’s as good as anybody that I’ve coached or as good as anybody that we’ve played against. If you pay too much attention to him, he creates opportunities for some of their other outstanding players. And if you don’t pay enough attention to him, then he can kill you.
Did Belichick Intentionally Jab Gronk?
No one will question Belichick’s assessment of Kittle in general. The 27-year-old has had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and he appears to be on his way to a third. Still, it’s obvious Belichick coached Gronkowski, who some would argue is the greatest tight end in NFL history.
Gronkowski retired after the 2018 season, only to come out of retirement and somewhat force the Patriots hand toward a deal that allowed him to reunite with Tom Brady with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the latter bolted in free agency.
Several people in the media thought it was a jab at Gronk.
Belichick is a master of mind games, and despite his stoic demeanor, he likes to play with the heads of the media and NFL fans. It seems obvious he was taking a shot at Gronk. Why would he poke at a guy his team couldn’t possibly meet this season unless both the Patriots and Bucs make the Super Bowl? Who knows, but he definitely gave people something to talk about.
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