NFL fans are going to be seeing a lot more of Rob Gronkowski going forward this season, but that does not mean the star tight end is coming out of retirement — at least not yet.
Gronkowski has agreed to a deal with FOX to serve as a regular studio analyst for the “NFL on FOX.” The news was first reported by Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network and later confirmed by Gronkowski himself.
Here’s a statement from Gronk on signing with FOX Sports pic.twitter.com/KmYql4ZVNf
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) October 8, 2019
There has been talk of Gronkowski serving as a studio analyst since the moment he announced his decision to retire, and he should be great for ratings. He’s a huge personality in addition to being arguably the best tight end to ever play, so it goes without saying that people will want to hear what he has to say.
Gronk has not entirely ruled out making an NFL comeback, and a recent roster move the New England Patriots made will only add to the speculation. Whether he eventually plays football again or not, Gronkowski should be a perfect fit for FOX.
Rob Gronkowski suffered a number of significant injuries during his NFL career, and many of them were to his head. Concussions and head trauma have become sensitive topics across the football world in recent years with more being learned about CTE, but Gronk says the condition is curable.
Gronkowski surprised some people this week when he said he would allow his son to play football if he had one. The former New England Patriots tight end retired at the age of 29 because his body broke down, but he told Reena Ninan of CBS News that he wouldn’t mind his son playing football because “any injury you receive is fixable.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 12, 2019
Gronk didn’t specifically mention the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. However, he estimated that he sustained 20 concussions while playing football, and CTE expert Chris Nowinski commended Gronkowski for talking about it but said CTE “cannot be fixed.” Gronk disagreed and said he is living proof that “it is fixable.”
It is fixable. I fixed mine. There are plenty of methods in this world that allow the brain to recover from severe damage. That is also why I would allow my kid to play football. https://t.co/9aI1olAdqP
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) September 13, 2019
There is still a lot to learn about CTE, but at the moment it can only formally be diagnosed after an autopsy. While scans could determine if Gronkowski’s brain has any signs that are consistent with those of CTE patients, there’s no way to tell for sure if he suffers from it or did at one point.
Gronkowski is endorsing a new product that he swears has changed his life, but we doubt he has much evidence to support his claim that CTE and brain damage can be “fixed.” That’s probably a subject he needs to learn more about before making those types of claims.
Rob Gronkowski has a fun-loving personality that can make you think he lacks intelligence, but he’s actually a math genius. Well, kind of.
During an appearance on the “Pardon My Take” podcast this week, Gronk revealed that his favorite subject in high school was math. In fact, he says he was so dominant in the math classroom that he was moved up to an advanced class. Unfortunately, it did not go so well.
Fun Fact – Gronk was a math genius growing up (normal math only) pic.twitter.com/ZFyYh0ZEpT
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) September 11, 2019
If that isn’t the most Gronk quote of all time, we don’t know what is.
We saw a much more serious side of Gronkowski recently than we have grown accustomed to, so it’s nice to have the old Gronk back.
Now that the New England Patriots have somehow managed to land Antonio Brown, many fans are wondering if Rob Gronkowski will be the final piece of the puzzle. The former tight end has not totally ruled out an NFL comeback, but would he be even more open to it now that the team he left behind looks as strong as ever?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Gronkowski did some work with Barstool Sports this week, and founder Dave Portnoy confidently told Gronk that he knows he is going to “avoid the grind of the season and come back for the playoffs.” Portnoy speculated that Gronkowski would return in Week 14, and the 30-year-old said that sounds about right.
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) September 9, 2019
“I won’t even be (in) single coverage with all those receivers we have,” Gronkowski said. “I won’t even be touched — Week 14.”
Unfortunately for football fans, Gronk was probably joking and just going along with what Portnoy said. The biggest red flag with what he said is that Gronkowski would have to be moved off the reserve/retired list by Week 13 if we wants to be eligible for the playoffs. The NFL has that rule in place to avoid exactly what Portnoy said, which is a player skipping the entire regular season and returning for the playoffs.
The Patriots didn’t look like they had many pass-catching options after Gronk retired, but they suddenly have a depth chart that features Brown, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas. They’re Super Bowl favorites for a reason, and it’s possible Gronk could get the itch to return at some point. However, some recent remarks he made about his retirement make that seem unlikely.
Rob Gronkowski made it clear recently that he has not totally ruled out the possibility of a return to football, and at least two former New England Patriots players seem to think it is going to happen.
The latest is ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi, who has Gronkowski on his fantasy football team heading into the season. Bruschi, a former Patriots linebacker, drafted Gronk in the 15th round of a 16-team league with his ESPN colleagues on Wednesday night.
Most intriguing pick from the 16-team ESPN War Room league Wednesday night: In round 15, with the 225th overall selection, @TedyBruschi takes….Rob Gronkowski.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 5, 2019
There are a couple of factors to consider before overreacting to Bruschi’s pick. For starters, Bruschi picked Gronk in the 15th round, or 225th overall. In a 16-team league, there are only flier picks remaining that late. It’s not a surprise someone picked Gronkowski over a team’s fifth wide receiver or third running back. Also, Bruschi is a TV analyst and former Patriot, so he probably knew the pick would get people talking.
Gronkowski said last week that he is in good enough physical condition to play football, but he has to get the urge. One former Patriots player is all but certain that Gronk will return in 2019, though we still have our doubts.
Bill Parcells famously said during his coaching years that any player who is thinking about retirement has already retired. By that logic, Rob Gronkowski gave up on football long before he actually hung up the cleats.
Gronk recently appeared on an episode of HBO’s “The Shop” that will air on Tuesday night, and he was asked why he decided that the 2018 season would be his last in the NFL. The 30-year-old said his big realization actually came during offseason workouts in 2017, when he was “getting smoked by every rookie.”
Rob Gronkowski told HBO’s “The Shop” that he probably first started thinking about retirement during training camp in 2017.
“I was trying to go out to the practices in the summer and I was getting smoked by every rookie."
“The Shop” airs tonight at 11p.https://t.co/xpOoMf1cYQ
— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) September 3, 2019
“I felt in order to do something bigger in life, in order to get to a higher stage — because you (already won) the Super Bowl — I felt like I had to get away from the game to focus on myself,” Gronkowski said.
Gronk suffered numerous significant injuries during his career and had several surgeries, so it’s hardly a surprise his body began breaking down. He still managed to catch 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017, but he looked noticeably slower last season, when he caught 47 passes for 682 yards and just three scores.
A lot of the people who speculate about Gronkowski returning in 2019 forget how diminished his skills were last season. The fact that he started contemplating retirement two years ago is quite telling, and it would still be a surprise if he returned — even if he has found a new way to stay pain-free.
Rob Gronkowski spoke about his retirement on Tuesday and the possibility of him ever returning to the NFL, and the former New England Patriots tight end became extremely emotional while discussing the reasons he decided to give up football.
Gronk made a public appearance to announce he has become an advocate for a CBD product that has helped him live pain-free for the first time in a decade, and he fought back tears at one point while telling those in attendance he was “not in a good place” last season.
"I want to be clear to my fans … I was not in a good place. Football was bringing me down."
–Rob Gronkowski on his decision to retire pic.twitter.com/zEek2QNPjH
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 27, 2019
“I want to be clear to my fans. I needed to recover. I was not in a good place,” Gronkowski said. “Football was bringing me down, and I didn’t like it. I was losing that joy in life.”
Gronk said he knew what he signed up for when he decided to pursue a career in the NFL, but he still felt he had to “fix myself.” He also detailed how he knew he was going to give up playing when he was in excruciating pain with a quad injury after Super Bowl LIII. The 30-year-old said the deep thigh bruise led to internal bleeding that needed to be drained.
“I got done with the game and I could barely walk,” Gronkowski said, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “I slept five minutes that night. I couldn’t even think. I was in tears in my bed after a Super Bowl victory. It didn’t make that much sense to me. And then, for four weeks, I couldn’t even sleep for more than 20 minutes a night. I was like, ‘Damn, this sucks.’ It didn’t feel good.”
While he said he is “very satisfied with where I am in life now,” Gronk would not rule out returning to football. He insists he feels physically well enough to keep playing but is not in the proper place mentally, though he added that he “will go back to football” if he gets the urge.
There have been plenty of rumblings about Gronkowski playing in 2019, the latest of which came from a former Patriots player who is convinced it will happen. If Gronk himself is not willing to rule it out, perhaps it is a more realistic possibility than we initially thought.