(SP) – A rift has reportedly developed between Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Rob Gronkowski, after Belichick banned his star tight end’s imaginary friend from the team locker room.

Sources close to the Patriots confirmed today that Belichick informed Gronkowski that Funny Pete was no longer welcome in the team facility, saying that the imaginary friend was a “distraction.” The move comes days after Belichick banned Tom Brady’s personal trainer.  Gronkowski admitted he was upset by the decision.

“First of all, he’s not an imaginary friend, okay,” said Gronkowski. “It’s just that other people can’t see him. Second … I can’t remember what was second. Oh, right. Second, Funny Pete is funny as shit.”

The tight end says his imaginary friend keeps him loose, which makes him a better player on the field.

“Funny Pete is like the funniest guy I’ve ever met,” said Gronk. “He’s the one who points out to me when ever there is 69 of something. That gets me every time. And you should smell his farts. Smelliest I’ve ever smelled. They clear out a room in a second. It’s awesome.”

Belichick would not offer much comment on his decision.

“I have to do what’s best for the team. But I don’t have anything specifically against imaginary friends,” he said. “In fact, I like imaginary people better than real people.”