By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — The winter of over-analyzing every social media post from Robert James Gronkowski continues.

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On this edition of “What Did Gronk Mean When He Said The Thing Online?” we make the move from Twitter to Instagram. There, Gronkowski shared a nice video of himself giving a big ol’ bear hug to Danny Amendola during the Patriots’ divisional round win over the Tennessee Titans.

With Amendola heading to the Miami Dolphins for big money, Gronkowski wished his friend a fond farewell. But he also might have thrown out some hints about some unhappiness with The Patriot Way™.

As you might have noticed, Gronkowski urged Amendola to be “free” and “happy,” and he did so by capitalizing both words.

(Insert thinking man emoji.)

(Oh, wait. We have the technology to actually insert the thinking man emoji. Stand by.)

(Yeah, that’s the stuff.)

Adding to the intrigue, quarterback Tom Brady (perhaps you’ve heard of him?) commented on the post, writing, “Well said Gronk!!!! [clap emoji] [clap emoji] [clap emoji]”

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(Let’s throw one more thinking man in there.)


Gronkowski, of course, has dominated the offseason storylines for the Patriots, after he did nothing to dismiss reports of him contemplating retirement after the Super Bowl. Since then, reports have varied on his intentions, and most of us have been left to dig deep into his tweets. Like this one, which came after Ian Rapoport reported that Gronkowski was expected to play for the Patriots in 2018:

Now, the passive-aggressive insinuation campaign has made the move over to Instagram. Is Gronkowski holding out for more money? Is he unhappy with not being allowed to be FREE and/or HAPPY? Was his caps lock key stuck? (That can happen, you know.) Is the man just bored and messing with everyone?

Maybe we’ll know one day, but for now, we’ll just have to keep following the bread crumbs dropped by Gronkowski on social media.

Oh, what the heck is this now?

Is it football season yet? Social media season causes too many headaches.

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You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.