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Another ‘Summer of Gronk’ is the last thing Rob Gronkowski needs 02.10.17 at 1:07 pm ET
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Gronkowski caught a career-low 25 catches this season. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Rob Gronkowski caught a career-low 25 passes this season. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

It looks like another “Summer of Gronk” is on the way. But this one may not be as well-received as its previous renditions.

Despite only playing in eight games this season, Rob Gronkowski was the star of the Patriots’ championship festivities this week. He went psychotic during the parade Tuesday, guzzling down Bud Lights and taking off his shirt to party with fans in frigid temperatures. At night, he brought down the house at Foxwoods, and even managed to outlast Rick Ross.

It was an uneventful Super Bowl for Gronkowski, who was sidelined with a back injury. The all-time Patriots touchdown leader underwent another back operation in December, the third of his career. At 27 years old, Gronkowski has experienced at least nine surgeries since 2009.

Entering the playoffs sans Gronk is familiar ground for the Patriots. They’ve been forced to play with him in a limited capacity or without him entirely in five of the last seven years –– perhaps costing them multiple championships. But they were able to pull off a historic comeback Sunday, which could put a damper on Gronkowski’s plans for a five-month stretch of debauchery. For the first time in his career, he appears to be expendable.

Make no mistake: Gronkowski remains the best tight end in football. But he was close to a non-factor this season. Twenty-one of his 25 receptions came within a four-week stretch, and he only caught one pass in two contests without Tom Brady. After Gronkowski was placed on IR Dec. 3, the Patriots went 8-0 with an average margin of victory of 17.25 points. They played their best football when he wasn’t on the field.

Over the last couple of years, it seems as if Gronkowski has operated under a different set of rules than many of his teammates. After suffering a knee injury during the 2015 campaign, the Patriots filed a joint statement with Gronkowski’s family about his status. Hours later, Gronkowski published a video on Bleacher Report, in which he said he wouldn’t return until he’s 100 percent. Bill Belichick goes to great lengths to hide injury information, but with Gronkowski, the Patriots are an open book.

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Rick Ross says he threw up while partying with Rob Gronkowski at 10:06 am ET
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Da Boss couldn’t hang with Gronk.

Hip-hop megastar Rick Ross partied with Rob Gronkowski following the Patriots’ parade Tuesday, tearing up Shrine Nightclub at Foxwoods. According to the Boston Globe, Gronk and his posse sprayed about 45 bottles of champagne into the crowd while Ross performed. It’s unclear whether that happened before or after Ross puked his guts out.

In an interview with Charlamagne Tha God and Andrew Schulz on their podcast, “Brilliant Idiots,” Ricky Rozay said he vomited after mixing liquor with the Gronkowski brothers. But eventually, he picked himself back up.

“I threw up a couple more times and then when I stood back up I felt good as f—,” he said.

Ross has given the Patriots numerous shoutouts in his songs over the years, including his latest single, where he calls Tom Brady his “new neighbor.” With that in mind, don’t be surprised if Rick Ross and Gronk are spotted together again this offseason. They’re a perfect match.

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Rob Gronkowski went psychotic at Patriots parade 02.07.17 at 2:46 pm ET
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Despite missing eight games this season and the entirety of the playoffs, Rob Gronkowski was the star of the Patriots parade Tuesday.

Gronkowski flaunted Mayor Marty Walsh’s drinking ban, guzzling down Bud Lights and spiking them to the ground. It was a repeat of his performance two years ago, which resulted in Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio calling for him to be cited for public alcohol consumption.

Gronkowski was the life of the party at the Patriots parade. (Photo by WEEI.com)

Gronkowski was the life of the party at the Patriots parade. (Photo by WEEI.com)

Never able to turn down a good time, Gronkowski also took part LeGarrette Blount’s dance party on the top of his duck boat.

While dancing and drinking is normal behavior for Gronk, things got weird while the Patriots were approaching City Hall Plaza. The tight end grabbed a Gronk Doll and started, well, you can fill in the rest.

When the duck boats stopped, Gronkowski took off his shirt and started partying with fans in freezing temperatures. Or, in other words, normalcy returned.

“To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even planning on partying,” he said to reporters. “But the fans were asking for it, and I’m giving the fans what they wanted to get. So I partied for the fans. That’s how we do it. That’s how we roll.”

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Patriots ignore Mayor Marty Walsh’s parade drinking ban at 1:25 pm ET
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Mayor Marty Walsh said no public drinking would be tolerated at the Patriots parade. The Super Bowl champions ignored him.

As the duck boats made their way down Boylston Street Tuesday, linebacker Rob Ninkovich was chugging Grey Goose straight from the bottle. Defensive end Chris Long joined him in the debauchery, slamming down some Natty Light.

Not be outdone, Rob Gronkowski caught a Bud Light from somebody in the crowd and guzzled it down in roughly three seconds. Afterwards, the empty can fell victim to the Gronk Spike.

Two years ago, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wondered if Gronkowski would be cited for public consumption of alcohol after he was seen drinking throughout the parade. City officials rightfully let his antics slide, and despite the Mayor’s strong words, the same thing will likely happen this time around. Super Bowl champions are allowed to break the rules –– at least for one day.

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Watch Rob Gronkowski’s Super Bowl ad for Tide 01.30.17 at 6:03 pm ET
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Thanks to a herniated disc, Rob Gronkowski will be inactive when the Patriots take on the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. But he’ll still be featured during the telecast.

Gronkowski stars alongside actor Jeffrey Tambor in an ad for the stain remover, Tide. The commercial, which runs 37 seconds, features Gronk as an inept dry-cleaner who cuts the sleeves off Tambor’s shirt to remove a stain rather than use laundry detergent. It’s … moderately amusing.

According to Variety, Fox is charging companies between $5 million and $5.5 million for a 30-second spot in this year’s Super Bowl. Last year, the average 30-second ad was sold for $5 million.

NFL ratings may have decreased this season, but the prices for Super Bowl commercials only continue to increase. For Tide’s sake, hopefully Gronk can help out their bottom line more than he helped the Patriots this season.

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James grades himself ‘F’ in Cavaliers’ win over Celtics; Rob Gronkowski parties on yacht in Miami 12.30.16 at 8:20 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Friday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: 
NBA: Miami at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Milwaukee at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (NBA)
College football: Georgia vs. TCU, 12 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Stanford vs. North Carolina, 2 p.m. (CBS)
College football: Nebraska vs. Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Michigan vs. Florida State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: West Virginia at Oklahoma State, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Valparaiso at Illinois-Chicago, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: La Salle at Dayton, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Texas Tech at Iowa State, 6 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: URI at Saint Louis, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Texas at Kansas State, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: VCU at George Mason, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Kansas at TCU, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: South Carolina at Memphis, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: USC at Oregon, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Arizona at California, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— LeBron James and the Cavaliers beat the Celtics, 124-118, Thursday night, but James didn’t think he played well at all. He blamed himself for Cleveland almost giving up a 20-point lead in the second half of the win.

“I think I was horrible tonight,” James said. “In every facet of the game, I was just pretty bad, and it’s unacceptable. I can’t do that if I want to help this team get to where we want to get to. So if there was a report card, I’d give myself an ‘F’ for tonight’s performance. I’ve just got to be better.”

James committed eight turnovers in the game, two in the fourth quarter, one of which was a pass to Kyrie Irving that Avery Bradley stole before scoring to put the Celtics within three.

“I just didn’t see him, and definitely got to pay attention to what’s going on in the flow of the game,” James said of Bradley and the turnover. “So I was just throwing it back in to Kyrie, and he just jumped it, so if I was paying attention to him, with Avery being the defensive-minded guy he is, I should have seen him. So, big mistake.”

Cleveland’s coach Tyronn Lue called James’ pass “lackadaisical” and said James talked to the team about how badly he played.

“He came to the locker room and the bench and said, ‘My fault. I was terrible tonight. It won’t happen again,’ ” Lue said. “He took credit for it and took blame. And we moved on.”

James blamed his lack of concentration for his subpar play.

“My concentration at different parts of the game [was poor],” James said. “I had eight turnovers, and some of them were just plain stupid turnovers, especially the one that Avery Bradley got in the backcourt. I was just not concentrating on the game, so it’s not always about the statistics or not. It’s about how I go out and I approach the game. So, I was happy that I got two All-Stars alongside me, and I was able to carry us to a win.”

Friday is James’ 32nd birthday.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Von Miller lists 3 Patriots as toughest he’s ever faced; NBA, NBAPA reach new CBA 12.15.16 at 8:12 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Thursday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: 
NHL: Anaheim at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Chicago at Milwaukee, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: New York at Golden State, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NFL: Los Angeles at Seattle, 8:25 p.m. (NBC; NFL Network)
College basketball: Appalachian State at NC State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Women’s college basketball: Texas-Rio Grande Valley at Texas, 8 p.m. (Longhorn Network)

AROUND THE WEB: 

Von Miller

Von Miller

— In his piece in The Players’ Tribune published on Wednesday, Broncos linebacker Von Miller lists “The Five Toughest Guys I’ve Ever Faced,” and three of them are Patriots.

Miller lists Tom Brady as the toughest quarterback, Rob Gronkowski as the toughest tight end and Bill Belichick as the toughest head coach.

“What makes him the best isn’t just his accuracy throwing the ball. His presnap vision is the best I’ve ever seen, bar none,” Miller wrote of Brady, adding: “The biggest challenge in playing the Patriots is simply getting off the field. You’re never worried about Brady hitting you for 70 yards, but he’ll chip away at you and keep drives alive, which wears you down. … Getting a consistent first step on a 15-play drive is pretty much impossible.”

Of Gronkowski, Miller wrote, “This term is almost overused in the media now, but Gronk really is a true game-changer. He’s almost like LeBron James in that his body type and skill set has never been seen before at his position. The NFL has never seen anything like his combination of size, speed and hands.”

As for toughest head coach, Miller said he likes Jack Del Rio, too, but “with Belichick, his genius comes from the fact that he always gameplans based on the personnel he has. He’s had Hall of Famers like Randy Moss, and he’s also had guys who you never heard of before, and no matter what, the Patriots are always contenders. Some of the packages we see from the Patriots, I’ve never seen before on a football field.”

Chris Ivory as toughest running back and Trent Williams as toughest offensive tackle round out the list.

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Bud Selig voted into Baseball Hall of Fame; Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis giving Donald Trump a chance 12.05.16 at 7:52 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Boston at Houston, 8 p.m. (CSN; NBATV)
NHL: Florida at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Buffalo at Washington, 7 p.m. (NHL)
NFL: Indianapolis at NY Jets, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: CSUN at St. John’s, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Stetson at Iowa, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UConn at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Bud Selig

Bud Selig

— Former MLB commissioner Bud Selig was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday along with MLB executive and current Braves president John Schuerholz. The two will be inducted into the Hall in July 2017.

They were voted in by the Era Committee on the the “Today’s Game Era Ballot” spanning from 1988 to the present.

Former players are considered for induction along with non-players involved in the game.

Others being considered for induction but who missed the cut included Lou Piniella, Mark McGwire, Orel Hershiser, Albert Belle and George Steinbrenner.

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Rob Gronkowski’s party cruise cited in lawsuit against NFL 02.24.16 at 8:02 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Penguins at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Sharks at Avalanche, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Wizards at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Spurs at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Villanova at Xavier, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Houston at UCF, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Mississippi State at Texas A&M, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Marquette at Creighton, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: East Carolina at Tulane, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Arizona at Colorado, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: San Diego State at Wyoming, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at Oregon State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at Dynamo Kyiv, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: CONCACAF Champions, Santos Laguna at Los Angeles, 10 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— As tales of drunken debauchery during Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski‘s weekend party cruise continue to filter out, the cruise now is being included in a lawsuit against the NFL.

Last summer, the NFL effectively shut down a fantasy football convention in Las Vegas because the event was being held on casino-owned property. The league barred players (most notably Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, one of the event’s organizers) and league employees from attending.

The National Fantasy Football Convention responded with a lawsuit, and the two sides reportedly will be in court Monday for a hearing on the NFL’s motion for summary judgment.

NFFC apparently is upset that the NFL did not object until after players and members of NFL Media had agreed to appear at the event, and it claims the league’s policy about gambling is ambiguous.

In an amended petition filed Monday in a Texas court (via Pro Football Talk), the NFFC references Gronkowski’s event, noting that there was gambling on the cruise.

Wrote the NFFC lawyers: NFL player Rob Gronkowski hosted a party cruise from Miami to the Bahamas on February 19-22, 2016. The four-day party took place on Norwegian Cruise Line, where Gronkowski’s fans and attendees can take full advantage of Norweigan’s famed ‘Casinos at Sea.’ Photos from the booze-cruise show fans gambling at the on-board casino. The NFL specifically knew about the party cruise and its ties to gambling for more than seven months leading up to the event; yet the NFL took no action to either discipline Rob Gronkowski or prevent the event from taking place.

If the NFL fails to win Monday, the case will head to trial (barring a settlement).

— Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler admitted to supervising a fight between his girlfriend and the mother of his child at a Florida apartment complex that was captured on surveillance video.

The gossip website TMZ posted the video, which shows Fowler between the two women signaling for them to start fighting. After they brawl for a little while, Fowler breaks it up by tossing his ex off his girlfriend. He then leaves via the elevator with his girlfriend.

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Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 2: Aaron Hernandez charged with murder 12.31.13 at 10:29 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 13 stories of 2013 in Boston sports. This is No. 2: Aaron Hernandez charged with murder. To see the previous entries, click here.

On Aug. 27, 2012, the Patriots rewarded tight end Aaron Hernandez, one of the team’€™s most promising players, with a lucrative contract extension. The deal would lock up Hernandez until 2018, paying him $40 million over five years.

“As soon as we started talking about contracts, I was emotional from that day on,” Hernandez said at a preseason gala hosted by the team just after the details of his contract were revealed.

“Honestly, it’s hard for me here [at the gala] to stay, keeping my mind off it, and it’s just, like I said, it’s surreal. Probably when I’m done with this conversation I’ll get some tears in my eyes. But it’s real, and it’s an honor.”

But less than one year later, the 23-year-old Hernandez was in a whale of legal trouble, and football and the monstrous contract he’€™d signed seemed immensely inconsequential. On June 26, Massachusetts State Police took Hernandez into custody on first-degree murder charges and five gun-related charges. Nearly two months later he was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player from Boston who hung around with Hernandez. There also reportedly are ongoing investigations into other shootings in Florida and Massachusetts as well as gun trafficking that have links to Hernandez.

New England acted swiftly, cutting the third-year tight end.

“A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss,” the team said in a statement. “Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Bill Belichick, Boston Sports Stories of the Year 2013, Matt Light