Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski was almost Las Vegas Raiders?
Yes, that’s what UFC president Dana White said Saturday night about “UFC 278 with the Gronks” in an interview with Gronkowski, who, of course, ended up joining Brady in Tampa Bay and winning a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in 2021.
Gronkowski brought up the issue on the show, saying that White gave Brady a draft when he was a free agent and then asked the UFC chief “what went wrong” and why Brady didn’t sign with Vega.
White seemed reluctant to tell the story: “Am I really telling this story now, Rob?” White asked. “Do you want me to tell this story?”
Gronkowski said yes, and added that he “could have been in Vegas” with White for the last three years.
“You would have been,” White said emphatically, and Gronkowski agreed with that assessment.
White said there was one person who blew up the deal — Jon Gruden.
“I worked to put that deal together to get Brady and Gronk to come to the Raiders,” said White, who is not connected to the Raiders in any official capacity. “It was almost a done deal. At the last minute, Gruden blew the deal and said he didn’t want them.
“All hell broke loose, man. It was crazy,” White said. “Brady was already looking at houses, and they hadn’t said Gronk was coming yet. So Las Vegas would have had Brady and Gronk the year the Bucs won the Super Bowl, except Gruden blew up the deal. There is so much story that goes along with this behind the scenes. … I will never tell that story until Gronk just said it.”
Gronkowski backed up White’s account, saying that’s “exactly what happened.”
Gruden — who resigned from the Raiders last October after it was revealed he had used homophobic and misogynistic language in a series of emails over seven years — and then-general manager Mike Mayock was in charge of all personnel decisions at the time.
Las Vegas fired Mayock in January after three rocky seasons with the team, which compiled a 25-24 record and one playoff appearance. The Raiders are now coached by Josh McDaniels, the Patriots’ longtime offensive coordinator, and their new GM is Dave Ziegler, who was also in the New England organization.
After White told the story, Gronkowski said he was happy how things turned out.
“I’m glad it didn’t go through,” Gronkowski said on the show. “Everything worked out for the best, man. I’m glad we went to Tampa, man. It just worked. I love that place.”
Seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady, now in his third season with Tampa Bay, ended up signing with the Buccaneers in 2020 after 20 years and six Super Bowl runs with coach Bill Belichick’s Patriots. Brady was on organizational-sanctioned leave from the Buccaneers tending to an undisclosed personal matter.
Gronkowski, who retired for one season, reunited with Brady and won his fourth Super Bowl, all with the surefire Hall of Fame signal caller. The tight end announced his retirement for the second time in June.