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Brady and Gronk are No-Shows at Patriots OTAs

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In any other OTAs in any other May in any other year, I’d react to news about Brady and Gronk missing a non-mandatory practice with all the thought and concern I put into what the Queen wore to the wedding. But not this OTA. Not this year. In the Offseason of Our Discontent this news sucks. It sucks more probably than what the Queen wore to the wedding.

Queen

I say this with the full understanding of what “non-mandatory” means. And a lifetime of experience reminding me of all the training camp/Spring Training/preseason story lines that seemed mega-important at the time but were forgotten forever as soon as the National Anthem of the first game is played. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you what anyone’s history of blowing off OTAs is. For all I know, 90% of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks and every All Pro tight end of the modern era never saw a single rep in late May. I truly have no idea. Nor will I think I’ll even remember this once Brady is hitting Gronk in the back corner of the end zone against Houston on Sept. 9th.

But for now, it matters.

It matters because this was their chance to put this whole sordid, demoralizing pissing contest behind us once and for all. This weird, Telenovela love quadrangle – the quarterback, the tight end, the trainer they love and the jealous coach who resents his pliable ways – Por el Amor a la Flexibilidad, would be dead and buried if Brady and Gronk were at Gillette this morning taking part in 7 on 7s. Instead we’re guaranteed to have to listen to the drama unfold until at least the start of mandatory practices. Assuming, that is, that these guys show up.

And not to overstate the importance of these non-padded, non contact and (in case I haven’t said it enough) non-mandatory practices for two guys who have like 27 years of NFL experience between them, but there are a lot of new bodies in camp. The Patriots have once again done some remodeling around the edges of their offense. New skill players like Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jeremy Hill and Sony Michel. New O-linemen like Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn. Not to mention they have veterans who missed all last year in Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell. And Brady in particular could stand to use this time to learn to work with all of them. To fire up those neurons in his hypothalamus that create those maternal attachment behaviors between him and teammates this offense runs on.

So yes, it’s disappointing the two aren’t in camp. From what I’m told, Brady was spotted in Manhattan yesterday by a friend of a friend of mine. Possibly coming from his real estate agent’s place:

It’s disappointing because practicing football is what they’ve always done. It’s made them the GOAT at their respective positions. It’s what they’ve always prided themselves on. Before he had kids, Brady earning the coveted Closest Parking Spot to the Door for having the best offseason workouts was part of his lore. And even post-kids, he was the guy who wanted all the reps in practice and would play 16 quarters in the preseason if they’d let him. Gronk has always been the guy saying “I’m happy to be out here. With my teammates. Trying to get better each day. With my teammates.” Now the teammates are running gassers and installing the basics of Josh McDaniels’ offense and the two most important players are selling apartments and taking BP at a Little League field:

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I think in the long run, this will all be forgotten too. My problem is the long run is going to feel that much longer now. Please, for the love of all that is holy, make this bullshit offseason end.

 @jerrythornton1