Patriots Nearly Traded Rob Gronkowski to the Lions

Paul Sancya | AP  Detroit Lions linebacker Eli Harold sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the second half on Sunday night in Detroit

Paul Sancya | AP Detroit Lions linebacker Eli Harold sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the second half on Sunday night in Detroit

Rob Gronkowski has spent the past week preparing to face the Detroit Lions on Sunday night, and there was apparently a point where he was close to catching passes from Matthew Stafford instead of Tom Brady.

As it turns out, New England had a deal done with the Detroit Lions before the 2018 NFL Draft, but the trade went to shambles when Gronkowski threatened to retire.

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Tight end Jacob Hollister, who has shown promise as a receiving target, also was also inactive. Gronk, 29, who had pondered retirement after the team's Super Bowl loss in February, threatened to walk away from the game and did not return Lions' calls, sources told the network. That would have given New England three first round picks, with that hypothetical third pick potentially being for a receiver or a quarterback.

New England has been desperate for wide receiver help with Cooks gone and Julian Edelman serving a suspension.

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Gordon's one catch this season was a 17-yard game-tying touchdown in Cleveland's Week 1 tie against the Steelers.

The receiver tweaked his hamstring before he was traded, and Rapoport said the team is preparing for Sunday's game for both scenarios involving Gordon.

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