Bill Belichick reportedly called Rob Gronkowski's college coach before the 2010 NFL draft to ask if the tight end was an 'a--hole'

  • Bill Belichick called Arizona football head coach Mike Stoops before the 2010 NFL draft to ask about Rob Gronkowski, according to a report.
  • Belichick reportedly asked Stoops if Gronkowski was an "a--hole," to which Stoops gave an emphatic "no" and encouraged Belichick and the New England Patriots to draft the tight end.
  • The Patriots selected Gronkowski, who before retiring this year, had one of the best careers in the franchise's history.

Rob Gronkowski's decorated career with the New England Patriots may have hinged on a single phone call before the 2010 NFL Draft.

Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday after nine seasons with the Patriots in which he won three Super Bowls, made four All-Pro teams, five Pro Bowl teams, and became the franchise leader in receiving touchdowns.

ESPN and The Ringer's Ryen Russillo said on Bill Simmons' podcast this week that before the draft, Belichick called Gronkowski's coach at Arizona, Mike Stoops, to ask him a simple question.

"He's like, 'Alright, what's the deal with this Gronk guy? This guy an a--hole or what?'" Belichick said to Stoops, according to Russillo.

"[Stoops] is like, 'No! He's a big teddy bear. He's unbelievable. You're gonna love him. You're gonna love having him around. All he cares about it is winning. He's absolutely everything you'd want in a guy.'"

Belichick reportedly responded, "Alright, cool," and ended the conversation. The Patriots ended up taking Gronkowski in the second round with the 42nd overall pick.

See the coach and tight end together through the years: 

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Rob Gronkowski and Bill Belichick together
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Rob Gronkowski and Bill Belichick together
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, center, talks with tight end Rob Gronkowski, left, as teammate Matt Light, right, looks on during practice at the NFL football team's training facility in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks with tight end Rob Gronkowski during NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass., Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Gronkowski is rehabbing off the field after undergoing back surgery in June. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick congratulates tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) after his touchdown catch against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 13: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski gets a pat on the shoulder from head coach Bill Belichick following a first quarter reception. The New England Patriots visited the Houston Texans in a regular season NFL football game at NRG Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 16: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski celebrates his 16-yard touchdown reception with head coach Bill Belichick during third quarter action. The New England Patriots hosted the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 16: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski gets a high-five from coach Bill Belichick after he made a touchdown in the third quarter. The New England Patriots hosted the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 24: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots speaks to Rob Gronkowski #87 in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 20: New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick spoke to tight end Rob Gronkowski as the Patriots held an afternoon practice at the practice field at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Sept. 20, 2016. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 03: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots, left, and head coach Bill Belichick during a practice session ahead of Super Bowl LI on February 3, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 26: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts with head coach Bill Belichick after catching a touchdown pass during the third quarter of a game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 29: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and head coach Bill Belichick arrive to a Patriots rally held to send the team off to the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Jan 29, 2018. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 3: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) argues his case to New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, and an on field official after an altercation involving Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White during the fourth quarter. The New England Patriots take on the Buffalo Bills in a regular season NFL football game at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY on Dec. 3, 2017. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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The story seems to follow one of Belichick's draft methods, which is apparently only taking players he likes.

Urban Meyer once revealed a conversation he had with Belichick about his roster-building methods, and Belichick revealed it to be remarkably simple.

"He said: 'At this point in my career, I want to coach guys I like. I want to coach guys I want to be around, and that's it, and I'm not going to coach anybody else,'" Meyer said of his conversation with Belichick.

Read more:Bill Belichick explained one of his philosophies for building a team, and it's hilariously simple

Gronkowski, of course, proved to be everything the Patriots wanted. He was a dominant tight end of the field, but even with his known love of partying, Gronkowski never seemed to brush up against the "Patriot Way," which proved Stoops' analysis to be accurate.

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