Former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow turned heads when it was revealed that he had been studying the Cincinnati Bengals' playbook for weeks prior to being selected first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, he may not have been the only star doing so. Tight end Rob Gronkowski claims that he had the playbook for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for four weeks prior to being traded to the team.
"I was in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers playbook four weeks ago, and I wasn't even on the team," Gronkowski said during the NFL Draft. He revealed this piece of information during an appearance on the Bud Light Seltzer DRAFTERPARTY. He and his girlfriend Camille Kostek spoke with Big Cat from Barstool Sports about their time in quarantine and how they can't just sit on the couch. They also danced while Gronkowski wore his WWE 24/7 Championship belt.
"So that’s tampering isn’t it? @nfl what are going to do about this? My guess nothing because y'all love Gronkowski and Brady right?" one person wrote in response to Gronkowski's comment. Several others weighed in and said that the Buccaneers are trying to "already cheat" ahead of the 2020 season.
Technically, Gronkowski is allowed to have the playbook for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because that isn't necessarily against league rules. The issue is how he procured it. Did the team send the plays to their future tight end prior to a deal being discussed? Gronkowski was under contract with the Patriots, so his former team would have had to authorize any contact with the Buccaneers.
Gronkowski was not the only new member of the team that was under scrutiny recently. The NFL also briefly investigated quarterback Tom Brady after he had a meeting with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Players and coaches are not allowed to meet until the offseason program officially begins. The Buccaneers had not reached that point in the calendar, but Brady was still meeting with his new coordinator.
"We made an inquiry and determined there was no violation," the league said in a statement, per Pro Football Talk. "It was a brief personal visit and Tom picked up the playbook." Although there were questions about why Brady had duffel bags with him when he headed to pick up the playbook.
Between Brady taking duffel bags to meet with his offensive coordinator and Gronkowski securing a playbook for his future team, the fans made it clear that they are very upset. They believe that the former Patriots are "trying to cheat" and should be punished. This likely won't happen considering that the league already said that Brady did not violate any rules.