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