ESPN Boston — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick showed pictures of tight end Rob Gronkowski with a kitten, from ESPN The Magazine’s “Interview issue” that hits newsstands Friday, to the entire team Thursday morning in what was described by players as a lighthearted moment.
“Bill brought it up this morning in team meeting, and we had a couple chuckles about it,” cornerback Darrelle Revis relayed. “It was pretty funny this morning. I guess Gronk has a soft side to his personality.”
Added receiver Brandon LaFell: “It was pure laughter in there this morning. … Coach was talking about how to approach the media and things to say, and things not to say, and he held up the picture of Rob and everybody just started laughing,” LaFell said. “There’s always something about Rob. … He’s a great guy; he’s an animal, man. Whatever he does off the field, as long as it’s nothing distracting to the team, I’m all for it. As long as he brings everything he’s got every Sunday, I’m with him.”
Has there ever been greater, more inaccurate fictions created about two public figures than there’s been about Bill Belichick and Rob Gronkowski? Belichick is careful in what he says and guarded in his press conferences and makes painful decisions on personnel moves so we get fed this myth that he’s this dour, bloodless, humorless troll with a one-mood-for-all-occasions sour disposition. With Gronk, these joyless Puritans among us have created this caricature of a mindless, reckless, self-centered party boy with no regard for his health or his team. When neither of those things could be further from the truth.
I mean, Gronk posing with kittens and telling Lindsay Czarniak he likes working out to “Spongebob” and loves to snuggle is flat-out funny. Belichick’s response was positively hilarious. Way funnier than anything Rex Ryan ever pulled. I don’t care how deep a grudge you harbor against this team, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t love to be a teammate of Gronk’s or play for a coach like Belichick. Gronk is living life the way you or I would, if we were an athletically gifted, super-attractive chick magnet. Of all The Hooded One’s geniuses, none is greater than his ability to create a team with no sacred cows. Whether it’s the offensive linemen all coming out in practice with the future Hall of Fame quarterback’s infamous baby goat picture pinned to their backs or goofing on the superstar tight end’s kitty photos, no one is above the ridicule, just as God intended.
You look around the rest of the league and you see the Dolphins have a hazing scandal blow up in their face, fistfights at Redskins practice and a once-great team like the 49ers conducting a circular firing squad. Then you see Belichick do his King of Comedy thing — Sheckey Belichick — and you realize why guys love playing for him.
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