Rob Gronkowski is ready to go for another season with the New England Patriots, but there was a time earlier this offseason where it appeared the star tight end was unhappy and could choose to retire rather than return to the Pats.

Gronkowski elected to miss the team’s voluntary OTAs in the spring, and after former teammate Danny Amendola inked a two-year, $12 million deal with the Miami Dolphins, Gronk posted a goodbye tribute to Amendola on Instagram that raised some eyebrows.

“It was a honor playing with ya the past 5 years @dannyamendola,” Gronkowski wrote. “Thanks for all the hugs and memories! Stay lit, Be FREE, Be HAPPY. Your hard work, the way you play at your size, the pain you fought through, the hits you take and get right back up talking shit back. I appreciated it all. Congrats. Enjoy Miami kid.”

Many believed that “Be FREE, Be HAPPY” could be a direct dig at Bill Belichick’s no-nonsense culture in Foxboro, but if you ask Gronk, it wasn’t that deep.

“That’s for the whole world,” Gronkowski told The MMQB. “That would be amazing if the whole world was free and happy. I love life. Free and happy.”

There you have it, mystery solved.

Gronkowski admittedly mulled retirement following the Patriots’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, but the 29-year-old re-committed to the Pats after missing OTAs and claims he “wasn’t close” to holding out for a new contract.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images