Report: Patriots nearly traded Gronk to Lions before draft
Streeter Lecka / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It appears the offseason trade rumors surrounding Rob Gronkowski were legitimate, as the New England Patriots nearly sent their star tight end to the Detroit Lions before the NFL draft, league sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The deal was thwarted when Gronkowski threatened to retire if he was shipped off to Motown. The Lions tried to change Gronkowski's mind, but the 29-year-old refused to return their phone calls.

Detroit was about three months removed from hiring former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as its new head coach when a trade appeared imminent.

Related: Patriots reportedly shopped Gronk 3 days before draft

New England had reportedly been shopping the five-time Pro Bowler because of his reluctance to commit to his playing future. Ultimately, he decided to return to the Patriots, who later restructured his contract in an act of good will.

Gronkowski led the Patriots with 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns last year across 14 games. He has 138 yards and a touchdown through two weeks this season heading into Sunday night's contest versus the Lions.

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Report: Patriots nearly traded Gronk to Lions before draft
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