The New England Patriots visited the White House on Wednesday to celebrate their Super Bowl 51 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
"Need some help", Gronkowski asked to a chorus of laughter.
At least five other Patriots players have said that they are not attending Wednesday's ceremony for political reasons, according to The Boston Globe.
The president isn't mentioning quarterback Tom Brady.
Also missing were defensive end Chris Long, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, defensive back Devin McCourty and tight end Martellus Bennett, some of whom explicitly cited their opposition to Trump as their reason for not attending.
It all started a few hours after the Patriots celebration ended when the Times tweeted out a photo that showed the difference between the team's entourage in 2015 - when Barack Obama was president - and the size of the team's entourage in 2017 with Trump.
On Wednesday morning, Brady said a "personal family matters" would keep him from attending the ceremony.
The White House is aware of "potential negative impacts" from a review ordered by Trump of whether lifting sanctions through the Iran nuclear deal was in US national security interests, his spokesman says.
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Brady was a late absentee from the visit.
Trump also received a personalized No. 45 jersey and helmet from Kraft and Belichick, respectively. "And I understand the focus of football very well, I think, as a civilian, and the pride the Patriots rightfully take in what they've achieved with this championship".
Casting a pall over the ceremony was the news about Hernandez, who hanged himself in a prison cell hours before the White House visit, according to MA prison officials.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for murder but was recently acquitted on separate double murder charges. "But thank you", Spicer responded.
A team spokesman said the Patriots were aware of situation, but neither the team or Trump publicly addressed the news surrounding Hernandez.
"I've had the great privileged to be here several times, but this one, th way we were treated the opportunity to be in the Oval Office and be with the President, and see the inside of the White House, has just been fabulous", Belichick said of Wednesday's visit.
"The Patriots are an incredible organization and this Super Bowl victory was a complete team effort", Trump said, praising the leadership of Coach Bill Belichick and the team's owner Robert Kraft.