UFC President Dana White casually sent the NFL world into shockwaves tonight, revealing he played an integral role in Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski nearly joining the Las Vegas Raiders.
In a never-before-told story, White said Tom Brady was so close to joining Mark Davis’ franchise in 2020 that he even examined houses — all before Jon Gruden allegedly wrecked the move.
Speaking during ESPN’s UFC 278 coverage, Gronkowski brought the shock story to the fore before White laid it out for a stunned audience.
UFC President Dana White made an astonishing claim which has taken over the NFL world
‘I know when Tom was a free agent about two to three years ago when he went to Tampa, you gave him a recruiting pitch on why he should join the Las Vegas Raiders,’ Gronkowski said to White on Saturday night.
‘What went wrong with that recruiting pitch you gave him?’
Before White explained the situation, Gronkowski admitted he ‘could have been in Vegas with you for the last three years.’
‘You would have been,’ White replied, before telling all.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have been an unstoppable force throughout their careers
‘I worked to put that deal together for Brady and Gronk to come to the Raiders and it was almost a done deal and at the last minute, Gruden blew the deal up and said he didn’t want them and all hell broke loose. It was crazy.
‘Brady was already looking at houses. It wasn’t being said yet that Gronk was coming, so Las Vegas would’ve had Brady and Gronk the year the Bucs won the Super Bowl but Gruden blew the deal up.
‘There is so much of a story that goes along with this behind the scenes. I was never going to tell that story until Gronk just said it.’
Former Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden has stepped away from the limelight since his resignation
Gronkowski confirmed the story was indeed ‘exactly what happened.’ The Raiders would have needed to trade with New England for Gronkowski who was still on the Patriots’ roster at the time.
Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March, 2020 as a free agent, signing a two-year, $50million contract.
A month later, Gronkowski joined Brady in Tampa after the Bucs traded a fourth round pick in exchange for a seventh and the eventual Hall of Fame tight end.
Meanwhile, Gruden resigned on October 2021 with the Raiders 3-2 after a New York Times article revealed the contents of his private emails.
‘I’m glad it did not go through,’ Gronkowski said. ‘It all worked out for the best, man. I’m glad we went to Tampa, man. It just worked out. I love that place.’
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is suspected of being the ‘motherf*****’ Brady referred to
White’s bombshell will undoubtedly bring to light Tom Brady’s comments on HBO’s The Shop last summer.
‘One of the teams they weren’t very interested at the very end,’ Brady said.
‘I was thinking ‘you’re sticking with that motherf*****?! Are you serious?’
Some suspected Brady was referring to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, or even then Miami signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Brady chose not to reveal exactly who he was speaking about but did scold the anonymous team for not signing him.
Tom Brady’s appearance on HBO’s The Shop in 2021 made waves in sports and social media
‘There’s private things for me that are going to remain motivational for me,’ Brady said in a Town Hall interview with Jim Gray on SiriusXM last year.
‘They know who they are … it’s fine. Everyone has a choice to choose. I think what you realize is, there’s not as many smart people as you think. That’s just the reality.
‘I think it’d be a no-brainer if you said, “Hey, you’ve got a chance to get Wayne Gretzky on your team, or you got a chance to have Michael Jordan on your team.” . . . “Oh, we don’t need him, no thanks. We’re good.”
‘In my mind, I’m kind of thinking, “OK, let me go show those teams what they’re missing.”‘
Brady & Gronkowski won Super Bowl LV vs. Kansas City 31-9 during their first season in Tampa
‘At the same time, let me go prove to the team that did bet on me, and the team that really showed they really wanted me, and committed to me, that I’m not going to let them down.
‘When I look back, I’m thinking “There’s no f***ing way I would’ve went to that team.”
‘But they said they didn’t want me! And know what that means! I know what that feels like! And I’m going to f*** you up because of that.’
The pair were a phenomenon together in New England under the coaching of Bill Belichick
Brady and Gronkowski went on to win Super Bowl LV during their first season in Tampa, and were defeated in last year’s NFC Divisional Round by the LA Rams.
Gronkowski announced his retirement for the second time, seemingly for good, on June 21.
Brady also retired this offseason but committed to returning for the 2022 season after just 40 days without football.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion is currently taking a leave of absence from Tampa’s training camp for personal reasons.
Brady will be hoping to get his eighth Super Bowl ring – and second with Tampa – this season