Longtime Patriot's defensive star Willie McGinest is the latest to chime in on the Gronk criticism for his post-Super Bowl performance in New Orleans. Speaking in reference to the latest episode, McGinest suggested that one of Gronk's peers needs to step in as a leader and talk to him:
“If there were things that needed to be addressed when I was there, I’d have a conversation with that player, or we had other leaders in the locker room who would talk to him,” McGinest told the Herald on Friday. “I just think, outside of being a professional, it was understanding what you had at risk, what we were there for, and understanding throughout that everybody should be accountable and everybody should be responsible. And you should know that what you do outside the field or outside the locker room directly affects everybody on the team.” (Quote from BostonHerald.com)
The apparent lack of veteran leadership that characterized the dynasty-era Patriots teams has been a resonating theme throughout this young off-season. Obviously McGinest sees Gronk's partying as an opportunity for a veteran like Tom Brady or Wes Welker to step in and get what he sees as a problem under control.
“The only guy on that offense that could probably say anything is Tom,” McGinest said. “He has the years in. Or maybe Wes (Welker). It has to be guys (Gronkowski is) around all the time. I don’t really know the dynamics of that team. Our defense and offense all coincided together. It didn’t matter who was talking. But a lot of their guys are young. Gronk’s young. It would have to be an elder statesman like Vince (Wilfork) or Tom (to speak up). Someone who’s been there for a while. But Tom might be the one. I’m sure someone will have a word with him."
I personally believe that McGinest equating Gronkowski's partying with any sort of disunity within the team is rather far fetched. Would one of Gronk's teammates get through to him better than Robert Kraft or any other Patriots executives, but honestly it is going to come down to him and him alone to choose whether this stuff will continue to make headlines.
Either way, the off the field stuff has not prevented Gronk from being one of the most dominant offensive forces in the league to this point, and until it does, I think critics like McGinest should relax a little.
What do we think PatsLife nation? Should Tom Brady or another veteran sit down for a talk with big #87? Vote in the poll below.