President Trump drew parallels between his unlikely election victory and the New England Patriots during their Super Bowl celebration Wednesday at the White House.
In his typical playful fashion, Gronkowski opened a door behind White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday afternoon, which led to a humorous exchange.
"Need some help?" Gronkowski, dressed in a suit and tie, playfully asked when he peered out from a corner of the room.
In addition to Brady, several other Patriots players said they would not be going to the White House, with some specifically citing Trump as the reason why.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft seemed to have a good time at the event.
The president accepted gifts from Kraft and Belichick during the ceremony, a personalized No. 45 Patriots jersey and a team helmet matching the ones used during the Super Bowl. "That's the beauty of what they do, they win as a team", said Trump, who equated some similarity to the team's stirring 25-point comeback against the Atlanta Falcons with his own political victory. "I'll see you in a minute".
A total of 34 Patriots players attended the White House ceremony, the team told NFL Network's Kimberly Jones. As of Sunday, Tom Brady had reportedly been expected to attend the said festivities.
Chris Long also boycotted the ceremony while Alan Branch, like Brady, said he planned to spend time with family instead.
Trump's welcome to the team was coming hours after the news from MA prisons officials that ex-Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell.
He also heaped praise upon Belichick, thanking him for writing a letter past year in support of his candidacy for president.
Hernandez played three seasons for the team before he was arrested and charged with murder in the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee's sister. He was convicted two years ago of first-degree murder following the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a former friend of Hernandez's.
Trump regularly mentioned Brady during the presidential campaign, even telling reporters from The Washington Post in March 2016 that Brady "loves me".
"I don't believe in excluding other people", McCourty adds.