Rob Gronkowski did his best recently to squash all of the rumors of a comeback at some point during the 2019 season, but there are apparently even some members of the New England Patriots organization who are not buying it.
Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report cites numerous sources — including some with the Patriots — who believe Gronkowski will eventually miss football and want to play again this upcoming season. Freeman said his sources even went as far as to say “you can count on it.”
Gronkowski has suffered numerous significant injuries throughout his career, and he was nowhere near as explosive last season as he was earlier in his career. While he made some enormous plays in the playoffs, he averaged just 3.6 catches per game during the regular season and scored three touchdowns. He may only be 30, but Gronk hardly retired at the top of his game.
When asked over the weekend if the comeback rumors can be put to rest, Gronkowski insisted he is truly retired and not planning on playing again. However, there have been several people close to him who have not ruled out him returning. Gronk has also dumped fuel on the fire by cracking his own jokes about retirement.
The Patriots are as thin as ever at the tight end position after releasing Austin Seferian-Jenkins on Tuesday. They could come calling at some point, and it seems like many people would be surprised if Gronk doesn’t listen.
Rob Gronkowski officially announced his retirement from football earlier this offseason, but there are plenty of people who believe there’s a chance he could get the itch to chase one more championship with the New England Patriots if they need his services late in the 2019 season. Gronk insists that is not going to happen, however.
Gronkowski agreed to have his head shaved on Sunday for the ninth consecutive year at the One Mission “Buzz Off For Kids With Cancer” event at Gillette Stadium. He spoke with reporters briefly about how much he is enjoying retirement, and Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald asked him if he wants to put the comeback rumors to rest. Gronk appeared to do just that during an exchange you can hear at around the 1:08 mark of the video below:
Video: A smiling Rob Gronkowski answers questions from reporters, saying there will always be a family feel at Gillette Stadium, while touching on his connection with the New England community, how he plans to do more events like this, and how life is good in retirement. pic.twitter.com/74zFGXH1Kk
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) June 2, 2019
Gronk first gave Guregian permission to put the comeback talk to rest, but she asked if he wanted to do it himself. While he had a smile on his face the entire time, his response of “I just did” was not exactly ambiguous.
Several people close to Gronkowski have not ruled out the All-Pro tight end playing again, so it makes sense that the speculation has not gone away. Gronk has also dumped some fuel on the fire by cracking his own sarcastic jokes about retirement, but the truth is he was nowhere near the same player in 2018. Had he still been dominating when he retired, it might be easier to envision him playing again at some point in 2019.
Many people have speculated that Rob Gronkowski could change his mind about retirement and return to the New England Patriots at some point during the 2019 season, and it sounds as though even his longtime girlfriend is not ruling that out.
Former Patriots cheerleader Camille Kostek, who is one of this year’s cover models for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, spoke briefly about Gronk’s retirement during an interview with Liz Gonzales of Barstool Sports this week. When Gonzales referred to Gronkowski as being “allegedly” retired, Kostek had an interesting response.
“I know, right. Everyone keeps saying that to me,” she said. “They’re like, ‘Is he actually?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, he really is.'”
While that seemed pretty definitive, Gonzales then asked if Kostek could envision a scenario where Gronk gets “a little itchy” and wants to play again. She would not rule it out.
“That’s the beautiful thing — he can come back,” Kostek said. “He could literally go back. … Whatever you want to do, you can do.”
That may not be much, but it’s also not Kostek coming out and saying Gronkowski’s retirement decision is final. Interestingly enough, even Gronk’s own agent said he could see the star tight end playing again in the future.
As of now, Gronkowski appears to have some big plans for life after football. We all know about his lengthy injury history, but if the Patriots need him late in the season next year and his body is feeling good, it would not be a shock if he came out of retirement for another playoff run.
There has been a lot of talk about Rob Gronkowski potentially returning late in the 2019 season to help the Patriots make a run at another Super Bowl, but he may be elbow-deep in dog poop by then.
Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston had a chance encounter with Gronkowski outside a charity event in Boston on Saturday, and he asked the former tight end about the possibility of his retirement lasting only until Thanksgiving. Gronk shook his head before revealing the big plans he has for himself now that his playing days are over.
“I’m into new opportunities,” Gronkowski said. “I was at CVS today with (my friend) Jim. Bagged all his stuff. I might do that, be a bagger. I might open a dog-walking business, be a dog-walker, I don’t know.”
Curran then informed Gronk that his friend just started a dog-walking business and might be looking for someone to clean up after the dogs.
“No doubt! Get a long stick with a scooper on the end and a handle. I just hit the trigger and it scoops it up. Then I reach back and drop it in a big bag on my back. Put all the poop in there and empty it every once in a while! So many ideas!” Gronkowski replied.
There have already been some gambling odds released for what Gronkowski’s next career move might be, and we can tell you pooper scooper and grocery bagger are not on the list. We’re guessing a guy who has supposedly saved every penny of his NFL salary and lived only off endorsements probably doesn’t need to get into anything like that, but you never know.
Rob Gronkowski may not have not have been quite as dominant of a presence in 2018 as he was in seasons before that, but rival coaches are still relieved that they no longer have to game-plan against him.
Gronkowski was an absolute nightmare for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the years, so no one is happier to see him leave than Mike Tomlin. Shortly after Gronk made his retirement announcement on Sunday, Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston had an entertaining exchange with Tomlin when he asked the coach if he wanted to come on the air to discuss the big news.
“Is he retiring?” Tomlin asked.
Curran informed him that the announcement had just been made official by the star tight end himself.
“Awesome!” Tomlin exclaimed.
The Steelers held Gronkowski in check in their only meeting with the Patriots last year, as he managed just 21 yards on two catches. That was the Gronk that had clearly lost a step, however. During New England’s win over the Steelers in 2017, he caught nine passes for 168 yards and a two-point conversion. He caught eight touchdown passes in seven career games against the Steelers and was held under 72 yards receiving just that one time, as noted by Matt Dolloff of 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Unfortunately for Tomlin, there appears to be at least a small chance Gronkowski’s retirement won’t be permanent.
Rob Gronkowski should have no shortage of options for how to spend his time now that he has retired from football, but the one fans seem to talk about the most is a career in professional wrestling. Oddsmakers believe a stint in the WWE is a real possibility for the former New England Patriots star.
On Monday, online gambling site BetOnline.ag released some odds for what Gronkowski may do first with his life after football. Wrestling in the WWE topped the list, with becoming an NFL commentator a close second.
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) March 25, 2019
If you’re looking for more reason to speculate about Gronk getting into wrestling, you might point to the fact that the WWE was quick to congratulate him following Sunday’s retirement announcement.
— WWE (@WWE) March 24, 2019
Part of the reason Gronkowski is retiring before age 30 is that he has suffered so many injuries over the years, and wrestling in the WWE is still physically taxing. He may decide that he wants to do something a little less demanding, though his own agent has not ruled out the possibility of him playing football again.
Rob Gronkowski officially announced his retirement from football on Sunday, but even the star tight end’s agent is not ruling out the possibility of a return at some point in 2019.
During a Monday appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!,” Drew Rosenhaus said he would not be surprised if Gronkowski played “a few games” for the Patriots next season if they — and specifically Tom Brady — needed him and reached out.
Drew Rosenhaus on @GetUpESPN on Rob Gronkowski’s future: “If the team was struggling or they needed him at some point next year, and let’s just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said ‘Rob, I need you.’ I wouldn’t be shocked if he came back to play a few games.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 25, 2019
Gronkowski’s emotional farewell on Instagram Sunday certainly made it seem as though his decision is permanent, but his agent would have a better idea of his thinking than most.
Interestingly enough, former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest recently floated the idea of Gronkowski skipping the offseason and the majority of 2019 before returning to play late in the year. The thinking is that the grind of training camp and a full season is too much for Gronk’s body to handle at this point, so it makes some sense. However, it’s unclear if Bill Belichick would be open to such an arrangement.
Gronkowski has a very close relationship with Brady, and it looked like the two were hinting after the Super Bowl that Gronk was planning to play in 2019. Perhaps there’s a scenario where that could still happen.