Rob Gronkowski hasn't 'come close' to holding out

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The New England Patriots reported to training camp this week -- with no exceptions.

After an offseason chock with talk surrounding Pats offensive stars Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski's supposed dissatisfaction with the organization and their absences from voluntary OTAs, both players showed up at camp right on time -- and in Brady's case, even a bit early.

In his first presser of the summer, Gronk made it clear that, contrary to offseason speculation, he was never interested in playing games with his contract situation during training camp.

"No," Gronkowski said when asked if he considered holding out this offseason. "Haven't come close to considering that. Not even one bit. What I can do is keep preparing, keep showing up every day. Keep doing what I got to do. Get better."

Gronkowski has just two years left on his deal and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2020, ahead of his age-31 season, unless he and the Pats work out a restructure. The tight end is scheduled to earn $8 million in base salary this season.

Pats coach Bill Belichick was characteristically tight-lipped on the matter on Wednesday, telling reporters, "Yeah, there's never any contract news. We don't talk about contracts, personal matters."

Gronk did a similar dance with the Pats last season after which the front office reworked the 2017 year of his deal and added $5.5 million in incentives, all of which the tight end hit.

It's been quite an offseason for Gronkowski. Minutes after New England's Super Bowl LII loss, the tight end intimated that he was considering retirement. In early May, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that New England was willing to restructure the tight end's contract for the 2018 season. Later that month, Gronk skipped voluntary OTAs, along with Brady, but attended minicamp in June.

Characterized by NFL Network's Judy Battista as "unusually introspective" on Thursday, Gronk didn't sound like a man wanting to move on from New England or from football any time soon.

"I mean, that I love the game of football," Gronk said, when asked what he learned about himself this offseason. "I said it earlier this summer, the game of football is amazing to play, and I'll repeat it again.

"What I learned is how to keep feeling good and keep going and keep enjoying the game of football."

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