Dana White claims he had deal for Brady and Gronkowski to join Raiders
UFC president Dana White is a Patriots fan, but he worked on a deal to bring Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to his current home in 2020.
White shared that he nearly got Brady and Gronkowski to join the Las Vegas Raiders that year when the quarterback was a free agent and the tight end was in retirement.
“I worked to put that deal together for Brady and Gronk to come to the Raiders, and it was almost a done deal,” White said while appearing on a simulcast hosted by the Gronkowski family during Saturday’s UFC 278.
However, a key figure with the Raiders put the kibosh on Brady and Gronkowski coming to Las Vegas.
“At the last minute, [Jon] Gruden blew the deal up and said he didn’t want [Brady],” White said. “All hell broke loose, man. It was crazy. Brady was already looking at houses and it wasn’t being said yet that Gronk was coming.”
Gronkowski was actually the one to bring up the story first, asking White what went wrong with his pitch to Brady. Las Vegas wasn’t one of the finalists though to land Brady, with the Buccaneers signing him. A month after Brady signed with the Buccaneers, Gronkowski ended his retirement and was traded to Tampa Bay.
The first season for the reconnected Hall-of-Fame quarterback-tight end duo ended with them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. White still believes Brady and Gronkowski should have been doing that in Las Vegas instead.
“So, Las Vegas would have had Brady and Gronk the year that the Bucs won the Super Bowl, except Gruden blew the deal up,” White said. “There’s so much story that goes along with this behind the scenes. I was never going to tell that story until Gronk just said it.”
White actually made a public pitch to Brady just weeks ahead of his free agency in 2020, telling him that if he had to leave the Patriots it should be for the Raiders.
“Las Vegas would love to have you here [with] the Raiders,” White told Brady in an interview. “The stadium, the facilities are incredible. The training facility that they have outside of Vegas is unbelievable. It’s a 45-minute flight from L.A. Your kids and your family can live there, you can fly back and forth. We want you to come to the Raiders…You know I’ve been pitching you now for a month. Come on brother, get to Vegas!”
White’s comment on Saturday night led several people to recall a comment Brady made in 2021 about his free agency, in which one of the teams interested in him pulled out of the running to stick with their current quarterback option.
“There was a story in free agency – and one of the teams, they were interested,” Brady said in an appearance on “The Shop.” “And all of a sudden they weren’t interested in the very end. I was sitting there thinking, ‘You’re sticking with that mother[expletive]? Are you serious?’”
Brady said though that he wouldn’t have joined that team.
“Absolutely [not],” Brady said. “Looking back, I’m thinking ‘There’s no [expletive]ing way I would’ve gone to that team. They said they didn’t want me! I know what that means! I know what that feels like! And I’m going to [expletive] you up because of that.”
Las Vegas ended up getting a key figure from the Patriots’ offense a couple years later with Josh McDaniels signing on to become the Raiders’ head coach this past offseason.
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