Rob Gronkowski wouldn’t commit to playing next season immediately following the New England Patriots’ 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Sunday.
The Patriots tight end expressed a desire to reflect on his season and assess his future, leaving the door open for potentially retiring despite being just 28 years old and coming off another All-Pro campaign.
Perhaps Gronkowski simply needs time to decompress, as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick suggested Monday. And perhaps he’ll ultimately finish out his contract, which runs through the 2019 season. But Stephen A. Smith explained Monday on ESPN’s “First Take” why he’s taking the Gronk retirement talk “very, very seriously” on the heels of a Super Bowl in which the five-time Pro Bowl selection totaled nine catches for 116 yards with two touchdowns.
Gronkowski has dealt with injuries throughout his career, even undergoing several back surgeries, and suffered a concussion in this year’s AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s fair to wonder whether he’s beginning to adopt a new outlook on life after football.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images
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