Kraft: Gronkowski trade rumors ‘a bunch of hogwash’

The NFL rumor mill is working overtime in New England this offseason, churning out so many tall tales that Patriots owner Robert Kraft feels compelled to set the record straight.

As Rob Gronkowski angles for a new contract, the latest balderdash came late last week via a local freelance reporter who claimed coach Bill Belichick wanted to trade his All Pro tight end until quarterback Tom Brady threatened to retire.

Since then, Gronkowski and the organization have vigorously refuted the report.

Time will tell how strong the relationships remain among a legendary quartet comprised of the most successful owner, coach, quarterback and tight end of this century. When they descend on Gillette Stadium late next month, they will open camp, once again, as the AFC’s prohibitive favorites.

He’s doing well, coach Bill O’Brien said Tuesday, via the Houston Chronicle. He’s a smart guy. I think he’s picked up the things we’ve taught him. He’s picked them up well and I think he has a good future here. We’ll see how it goes.

Although Rankin is expected to return in time for the start of the regular season, his availability for training camp is less certain.

A left tackle at Mississippi State, Rankin was viewed by many scouts as an interior lineman at the pro level. The Texans announced him as a tackle, however, and planned to throw him into the blind-side mix with Julie’n Davenport, Seantrel Henderson and perhaps even converted guard Jeff Allen.

If Rankin is a realistic candidate to start in Week 1, he can’t afford to miss valuable practice reps as O’Brien installs a new offense that plays to Watson’s strengths.

In the meantime, Ingram said he will attend training camp and he understands the responsibility to help ensure the running back group is ready for the regular season while he serves the four-game suspension.

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