Although Rob Gronkowski goes about his everyday life like an ageless high schooler, he’ll be 29 in May and has had a bunch of surgeries to his back and limbs. Add in his marketability and the fact that he’s already sealed up a Hall of Fame spot whenever he walks away from the NFL, and it’s not completely shocking that he’d consider retirement to preserve whatever’s left of his brain.
Gronkowski had already vaguely said he’d “look at my future” right after the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss to the Eagles, but NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran reported Tuesday that the tight end had experienced football ennui all the way back to the team’s 2017 training camp:
Curran, speaking Monday on “Boston Sports Tonight”, said it’s “starting to wear on [Gronk] mentally and physically, the atmosphere in Foxboro...He seriously considered stepping away from the game in training camp.”
“They still need to have a hell of an air-clearing at Patriot Place to get these guys back,” Curran said.
The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe didn’t get anything more out of the tight end’s agents:
Back in August, WEEI’s Ryan Hannable remarked on Gronk’s gloomy mood at practice. At the time, it felt like standard preseason filler, but now it jibes with Curran’s report. Any shift in motivation didn’t affect Gronk’s performance: The tight end had 69 catches for a solid 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season.
The contemplative delt muscle himself hasn’t said much beyond a couple of tweets that could really be about anything, like a particularly tense game of Call of Duty:
Gronk is to some degree interested in pro wrestling—he’s had a couple of cameos on WWE—though that would still be bad for his surgically repaired back. With his career earnings and success, he could avoid physical activity for the rest of his life, really. Gronk could hawk merch and make paid appearances at Vegas pool parties until that business strategy became grim.
Update (6:30 p.m. ET):