The subject of Rob Gronkowski’s potential return to the New England Patriots this season is something that won’t die. The topic was revitalized over the weekend when NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said Patriots owner Robert Kraft told Gronk the team wanted the tight end back for the stretch run of the season.
That report led to more questions about Gronk’s potential return, but Tom Brady is not counting on it. The Patriots quarterback said on Westwood One Monday night that he is not expecting Gronk to return.
More Brady on Rob Gronkowski: "He’s said countless times this year that he’s not coming back, so you just have to take his word for it.”
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) November 12, 2019
Gronk retired after winning the Super Bowl last season. His age (30) couple with his ability to still be a solid playmaker last season, has led to plenty of rumors about his possible return. However, Gronk started a job with FOX this fall and also said last month he does not have the itch to return.
The possibility of Gronk’s return may be a fun topic to consider, but it seems unlikely to happen.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft breathed more life into the rumors of Rob Gronkowski returning to the field when he said last week that the star tight end has yet to turn in his retirement papers, but Gronk insists he still is not thinking about that.
In an appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Morning Show” on Tuesday, Gronkowski was asked what it would take for him to want to return to the field. He said he would need to get the “itch,” and he still doesn’t have it.
Rob Gronkowski on @TheGregHillShow asked again about what it would take to return: "I would have to be feeling it — mentally, physically. … Like a couple of weeks of me feeling it, like I need to play football again."
You're not feeling that now?
"No, I don't have that itch"
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) October 15, 2019
Gronkowski was then asked if he misses playing, and he said he does not at the moment.
.@GregHillWEEI to Rob Gronkowski: Do you miss football?
Gronk: "No, I am very satisfied where I am at."
Added he started thinking about retirement over the last year or two.
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) October 15, 2019
Kraft’s comments may have been more about wishful thinking, as the Patriots could use another playmaker on offense and have been thin at tight end all season. One line of thinking is that Tom Brady could convince Gronk to return, but Brady said this week that he would never try to influence his former teammate one way or the other.
Gronkowski recently took a job working as an analyst for FOX and seems very content in retirement, though even he has not entirely ruled out a comeback. The Patriots appear poised to get back to the Super Bowl, so perhaps Gronk will want to be part of the action when the playoffs draw nearer.
If former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski wishes to remain retired, veteran quarterback Tom Brady isn’t going to attempt to convince him otherwise.
Appearing on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday morning, Brady said that he’s happy for Gronk and his post-retirement life, adding that he has no plans to lure the tight end back to Foxborough.
“I love that guy. I’m so happy that he’s enjoying his time, his life. He seems to really be doing a lot of great things. He knows how I feel about him. I want what’s best for him. He’s the only person that can make those decisions. I don’t lobby for those things,” Brady said matter-of-factly.
“I have a great relationship with him. He’s given a hell of a lot to our team already over a long period of time, and I think people should be very appreciative for what he’s brought to the team and what he’s brought to the region. I think he’s just a very special guy. He’s at a different phase of his life.”
Brady’s approach is in stark contrast to that of team owner Robert Kraft, who said prior to a Thursday night game against the New York Giants that Gronk has yet to officially file his retirement paperwork and that he’s still “hoping” and “praying” for a return.
Gronk himself has not closed the door on a potential return, but for right now, he’s living the good life, getting healthy and finding a bevy of post-playing career opportunities.
Rob Gronkowski made his broadcasting debut for the NFL on FOX ahead of the Thursday Night Football game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants, and he did not disappoint.
Gronk spoke about his former teammate Julian Edelman and explained why the receiver is nicknamed “squirrel.” Gronk got intense as he talked, like he was cutting a wrestling promo.
Well said Gronk. Absolutley perfect debut pic.twitter.com/QUoaGHXBTj
— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) October 11, 2019
“He’s furry. He’s cute. He’s elusive. He’s feisty. And most importantly, whenever he gets a chance, he gets that nut!” Gronk said.
The energy and phrasing by Gronk is exactly what FOX signed up for. Of course, get that nut could have multiple meanings beyond just going after a football, which is probably where Gronk’s mind was.
Gronk and Edelman were teammates on the Patriots for nine seasons
Rumors about Rob Gronkowski possibly returning to the New England Patriots this season have percolated steadily since the tight end announced his retirement, and the team’s owner is among those hoping for a return.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft said during an appearance on NFL Network Thursday that they “love Gronk” and “pray and hope” he will return to the team. Kraft also noted that Gronk has not officially submitted his retirement papers.
#Patriots owner Robert Kraft on @nflnetwork just now: “We all love Gronk and I think the bottom line is, he hasn't put his retirement papers in. We can always pray and hope …. That's a good academic argument that there is hope for us still with Gronk."
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 10, 2019
Though Gronk has not filed for retirement, FOX announced this week that the tight end will join their “NFL on FOX” team as an analyst. Stepping into a TV role seems to be the opposite direction of training for a return to the field, but that does not mean things couldn’t change. Remember, Jason Witten was a “Monday Night Football” broadcaster last year and decided to return to the Dallas Cowboys this year.
Patriots fans — and Kraft — can continue to dream and hope. Maybe their wishes will come true.
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.