Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi certainly didn’t agree with what Johnson had to say.
A recent report about Rob Gronkowski from NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran, however, seems to validate exactly what Johnson was talking about.
“[Gronk] didn’t enjoy himself in 2017. He did not have a good time, despite the fact that his body was in a better situation than it’s been in a long time — ever, maybe — and despite the fact that he was one of the most dominant players at any skill position. It’s starting to wear on him — physically, mentally, the atmosphere here in New England.”
“First and foremost isn’t health necessarily. It’s all meshed together. The first and foremost is, if the climate was different, if he was having a better time, if he felt more valued — whether it be financially or personally — I think that we might not be having this conversation. But all the things rolled together have kind of hit a tipping point for him.”
The 28-year-old Gronkowski has been non-committal about playing football in 2018. Multiple reports indicate he’s considering retirement despite the fact he’s in his prime and he’s the best player at his position in the league.
It remains to be seen if Gronk will actually retire, but the fact he’s even considering it lends credence to Johnson’s cricitism of the Patriots’ culture. It also makes you appreciate the Eagles have a culture where the team can be successful AND the players can enjoy themselves.
Maybe New England’s alleged dysfunction is finally starting to catch up with them. It’s very difficult to write off the Patriots given their longstanding dominance in the league. With that said, it’d be very cool if the Eagles’ Super Bowl win over them marked the beginning of the era where they start to fall off and descend into chaos.