When Rob Gronkowski finally decides to retire for good, he will do so as one of the greatest tight ends ever to play the game. To some, he’s already the GOAT at his position, and has been for several years at this point. Gronk, who has already retired from football once, was on TMZ recently, and the subject of retirement came up, and he just kept it real, saying if he was forced to choose at that moment, then it’d be yes to retiring.
“If they’re like, ‘Rob, you’ve got to decide right now, right this second if you’re playing next year,’ I would say no right now. It’s two days after the season.
I would be like, ‘No, I’m not playing.’ ... You’ve got to give it some time. You’ve got to rest. I would say to see how everything goes, how everything plays out.”
Of course, as Gronkowski explains, he’ll take time to heal his body after the season and assess the situation from there. I think he’ll wait to see what Tom Brady does, as mentioned in the TMZ interview. I feel that Brady’s actions will influence Gronk far more than he indicates. If not for Brady, Gronkowski would likely not come out of retirement after walking away in 2019.
Brady and Gronk have a decade-strong bond on the field. If anyone was ever a go-to guy for Brady, it’s Gronkowski. They have the second-most touchdown connections all-time with 105. That leaves them only nine behind Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison. Running it back one more time might get them the record or pretty damn close at the least.
Gronkowski is currently third all-time in TDs at the TE position with 93. Antonio Gates leads the pack with 116, and Tony Gonzalez has 111. I don’t see Gronk catching either, but I’m sure he’d love to be one of only three at the position to finish with 100 or more TDs in their career. He’s only seven TDs shy of that, so one more go with Brady under center just might get him there. And I’m sure Brady would make sure it happened as long as Gronk stayed on the field most of the year.
If Brady returns for another year in Tampa Bay, that means one more shot at a Super Bowl. Gronk is tied for the most Super Bowl victories by a TE with four. Another ring strengthens his argument for GOAT TE even more. Gronkowski needs a little over 700 yards to become just the fifth TE in NFL history to gain 10,000 receiving yards. Gonzalez, Gates, Jason Witten, and Shannon Sharpe are the only other players to accomplish this feat. That’s NFL TE royalty right there, and I can imagine Gronk would want to be part of that group.
It seems like a four-time Super Bowl winner, and already all-time great, might not have much left to play for to the outside world. But I say why not go for more. Gronkowski suffered a broken back in college at the University of Arizona. NFL scouts and executives didn’t project much from him coming into the league. So, I’d be trying to win all the titles and break as many records as I could before hanging up the cleats forever.
But again, I feel Gronk’s final decision will come after we know what direction Brady will go next year. Many people think he will stay home for good and call it a career. Some folks have tried to retire Brady for almost 10 years now. So a Brady return wouldn’t shock me at all. It feels like the duo could be a package deal next season. They’re either going to both be in or out. We’ll just have to stay tuned to see how it plays out.