Good news and bad news for New England Patriots fans. According to Jeff Darlington of ESPN, Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to return next season. In his report, Darlington said Gronkowski would play football if quarterback Tom Brady remains with the Patriots. Darlington’s report was a relief for Patriots fans who are dying to hear from the star tight end regarding his next move. After their Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Gronkowski hinted about his possible retirement from the NFL. After that, Gronkowski never uttered a word about his next move, keeping the Patriot guessing about his future and holding the team’s plans in the air.

There were persistent reports that Gronkowski might join the WWE or become a Hollywood action star. In his eight years with the Patriots, Gronkowski has recorded 474 catches for 7,179 yards and 76 touchdowns in the regular season. In the playoffs, Gronkowski has tallied 972 yards and 12 scores. He is scheduled to earn $8 million in the 2018 season.

Belichick doubts Gronkowski’s commitment to football

As for the bad news, Darlington said it has yet to be determined if head coach Bill Belichick will welcome his tight end with open arms. Darlington suggested in his report that there is growing tension between Gronkowski and Belichick. According to Darlington, Belichick and other members of the Patriots organization have lingering frustration about Gronkowski and his decision to keep the team waiting.

Also, Belichick has doubts about Gronkowski’s commitment to football as the tight end’s retirement talk and love for partying don’t go well with the long-time coach’s “all-in” principle that he wants to impart to his players. Also, Darlington said Gronkowski’s farewell message to wide receiver Danny Amendola didn’t sit well with the Patriots top brass. After Amendola signed a two-year deal worth $12 million with the Miami Dolphins [VIDEO], Gronkowski posted a message on his Twitter account, telling Amendola to “be free” and “be happy.” There were reports that the Patriots might trade Gronkowski to the San Francisco 49ers [VIDEO].

Gronkowski tired of being 'persecuted'

According to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston, Gronkowski felt persecuted and singled out by the Patriots coaching staff and organization, Curran added that Gronkowski also didn’t enjoy himself this season, one of the reasons why he pondered retirement. Based on his sources, Curran said Gronkowski considered retirement during training camp, but only expressed himself after their Super Bowl loss. Last season, Gronkowski caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns and tallied 218 receiving yards and three scores in the playoffs en route to his fifth Pro Bowl selection.