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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski not expected to pursue WWE career after football

Rob Gronkowski

There has long been speculation that Rob Gronkowski could pursue a career in wrestling when he retires from playing football, and that retirement may come within the next month. However, it still seems unlikely that Gronk will be signing any type of deal with Vince McMahon when calls it a career.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reiterated on Sunday that people close to Gronkowski believe there is a “strong chance” the star tight end will retire after the season, but he is more likely to pursue a career in Hollywood than the WWE.

If Gronkowski does retire from football, injuries will probably be the motivation behind the decision. Say what you will about pro wrestlers, but they still put their bodies through plenty of physical stress. That’s probably not the best career path for Gronk if he wants to remain healthy.

Having said that, Gronk has already made an appearance at a major WWE event. Even if he doesn’t pursue wrestling full-time, there will likely be more opportunities like that in the future.

Rob Gronkowski insists he is not thinking about retirement

Rob Gronkowski

There has been a lot of speculation that Rob Gronkowski may be playing out the final games of his career with the New England Patriots, but the star tight end insists he is not thinking about retirement as he tries to help the team win another title.

Prior to New England’s dominating win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that people close to Gronkowski believe the five-time Pro Bowler will retire after the season. Gronk later told reporters he is “all in” and not giving that any thought.

Gronkowski caught his lone target on Sunday and turned it into 25 yards, shedding defenders the way we have seen him do so many times throughout his career. He also played a massive role in the run game and drew the praise of one of his former teammates for the way he dominated Chargers defenders at the line of scrimmage.

While he’s still only 29, Gronkowski has suffered multiple significant injuries throughout his career. He can’t be surprised that people are talking about him retiring, especially since he openly contemplated doing so a year ago and was nearly traded around the same time.

Martellus Bennett praises Rob Gronkowski for his quiet contributions

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski once again did not play a major role in the passing game for the New England Patriots on Sunday, but to say his presence was felt would be an understatement. Martellus Bennett understands that more than most, and the former NFL tight end called attention to it.

Gronkowski did not catch a pass in the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers, but he was an absolute beast in the running game. Here’s one of several blocks he threw that helped the Patriots run wild against LA:

Because he is known for scoring touchdowns and dominating defensive backs, many don’t realize how big of an impact a healthy Gronkowski makes in the running game. Bennett, who won a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2016, has seen it in person and said that part of Gronk’s game is what makes him the NFL’s best.

Considering Gronkowski has had back issues throughout his career and again this season, the way he opened up holes and blocked multiple defenders on some plays was a great sign for the Patriots. Even if he has lost some speed and explosiveness, he can clearly play a huge role without catching the ball. That, New England’s play in all phases of the game, and some of the inexcusable mistakes that were made on Sunday gave the Chargers no chance.

Report: People close to Rob Gronkowki expect star TE to retire

Rob Gronkowski

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has looked like a shell of his once-dominant self this season, and some say he is injured while others say he has lost his passion for football. Both could be factors, and it sounds legitimately possible that this could be Gronk’s last season in the NFL.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, some people close to Gronkowski expect him to retire after the season. Gronkowski is apparently healthy heading into Sunday’s playoff game against the Los Angeles Chargers, but sources told Rapoport “everything has been a battle” for the 29-year-old and they wonder how much he still loves playing.

Gronkowski openly contemplated retirement after the Patriots’ heartbreaking loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl last year, and there were reports that Bill Belichick came close to trading him to the Detroit Lions. Gronk has said he would not want to play for any other team and would only catch passes from Tom Brady, and he supposedly went to Patriots owner Robert Kraft to veto an agreed upon trade involving him.

Even if Gronk wants to keep playing football in 2019, the Patriots probably don’t want to pay him his base salary of $9 million next season after he caught just 47 passes in 13 regular-season games this year. If Gronkowski truly would not play for any other team, that might make his decision easier.

There was some talk about Gronkowski being unhappy with his financial situation heading into 2018, but it seems doubtful that will be an issue this offseason. His level of commitment to football will likely be the biggest question.

End of Patriots’ dynasty is so clearly upon us

Tom Brady

The New England Patriots’ dynasty came to an end with their Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last season, and the team’s downfall is now so clearly upon us.

The Patriots lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-10 on Sunday and looked bad in so many regards. Tom Brady threw an ugly red zone interception late in the game — the second straight week where he made a terrible play in the red zone. He was getting rid of balls early like he was worried that the offensive line wouldn’t hold up. Rob Gronkowski has looked old, slow, injured, and unmotivated for much of the season. Julian Edelman has displayed shaky hands. On the whole, the offense is in a class behind the NFL’s elite units, like the Chiefs, Rams and Saints. Bill Belichick seems to recognize that, which is probably why he surprisingly kicked a field goal rather than go for it on 4th-and-1 from the six late in the third.

The stats following the loss to the Steelers scream the end of the dynasty.

– New England’s five losses this season are their most of the decade (since 2010, they were no worse than 12-4).
– This is the first time since 2002 that they’ve lost consecutive games in December
– This is the first time since 2009 that they’ve had a losing road record

The Patriots will still probably win the AFC East and a playoff game or two, but they do not look like a Super Bowl team. You get the feeling that this would have been a perfect time to start transitioning towards Jimmy Garoppolo, but we all know it’s too late for that.

The Patriots’ Super Bowl window with this core has shut.

Rob Gronkowski declares himself ‘healthy’ after finally scoring TD

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski may have only looked like his usual dominant self on one play against the New York Jets on Sunday, but the star tight end insists he is finally no longer playing through injuries.

After missing the two games leading up to New England’s bye week with back and ankle injuries, Gronk caught a 34-yard touchdown pass and bounced off a defender during Sunday’s win. He shared a photo on Instagram Monday of him spiking the ball in the end zone and admitted he has room to improve, but the important thing for Patriots fans is that he declared himself “healthy.”

It has still been a long time since we’ve seen Gronk dominate an opposing defense, but it was a positive sign that he found the end zone after a six-game touchdown drought. At the very least, he showed that a certain New York sportswriter may have jumped the gun a bit when he wrote Gronkowski’s obituary last week. If the Patriots want to remain in the hunt for a first-round playoff bye, they need Gronk to make plays like the one he made against the Jets.

Watch: Rob Gronkowski catches first TD pass in seven games

Rob Gronkowski

The New England Patriots held Rob Gronkowski out for two games before their bye week in hopes of getting the star tight end healthy for the stretch run, and the early indication on Sunday was that it worked.

Gronkowski was targeted twice early by Tom Brady in the first quarter of New England’s game against the New York Jets. The first was a bad throw, and Gronk was popped by Jets safety Jamal Adams and dropped the ball. The second, however, was a beautiful 34-yard pass down the seam that Gronkowski hauled in for a touchdown.

That was a classic Gronk play, as he showed off his tremendous hands and made the play even after being hit by a defender.

With the way he was mocked by one New York newspaper heading into Sunday’s game, you know Gronkowski must have been feeling plenty motivated.