Rob Gronkowski’s appearance Sunday at WrestleMania 33 didn’t sit well with Skip Bayless.
Bayless and Shannon Sharpe discussed Gronkowski’s in-ring debut Tuesday on FS1’s “Undisputed,” and both seem to agree the New England Patriots tight end took an unnecessary risk. Bayless even went so far as to say he was “horrified” watching Gronk bundle WWE superstar Jinder Mahal, especially after a 2016 campaign in which the four-time Pro Bowl pick was limited to eight games before undergoing season-ending back surgery.
“I seriously cannot believe that (Patriots head coach) Bill Belichick and (Patriots owner) Robert Kraft signed off on Gronk doing that,” Bayless said, per FOXSports.com. “Seriously?
“Now, I’m just a Tom Brady fan more than I’m a Patriot fan, but I was stunned and horrified as I watched the video of Gronk — coming off his third back surgery, missed eight games last year — getting amped up, getting into a three-point stance, tearing across the ring and running headlong into Jinder Mahal.
“It looked like he took a shot because he gave a shot, and it’s a little risky. I’m not saying … what are the odds, 1-in-1,000 you would hurt your back again? But there’s some chance you would have hurt your back again.
“So, I’m asking, what was he thinking?”
It was a busy couple of days for Gronkowski, who also participated in the Boston Red Sox’s Opening Day ceremonies Monday. He appeared to be moving around just in fine in both instances — Gronk playfully stole Tom Brady’s Super Bowl LI jersey during Monday’s pregame festivities — but, as Bayless contests, the optics haven’t been great from a public relations standpoint.
“What is Rob Gronkowski now? It’s almost like the Tony Romo question,” Bayless said, according to FOXSports.com. “Who do you want to be at this stage? Do you want to be a celebrity — an entertainer, and part of WrestleMania? Or do you really want to be a dominating football player again for the New England Patriots?
“I’m not sure he really wants to be that guy again, or you wouldn’t risk this, as silly as it seems, in a WrestleMania event with the world watching that.”
Gronk’s off-field antics are part of what make him so unique and so entertaining. Tossing around a guy in excess of 250 pounds just months removed from back surgery sure raises questions, though, the biggest of which centers on whether the 27-year-old should dial it back.