It’s been a tough season for Rob Gronkowski.

The New England Patriots star tight end has caught just 29 passes for 448 yards and one touchdown through eight games and hasn’t been the dominant force we’ve become accustomed to seeing.

Gronkowski has had a slew of injuries throughout his career and even contemplated retirement last offseason. The 29-year-old has battled back and ankle ailments so far this season, which could be playing a role in his subpar season.

Former Patriots executive Michael Lombardi has stated that he believes Gronkowski has lost some of his speed and ability to separate and he detailed what he’s been seeing in the Arizona product on The Ringer’s “GM Street” podcast. 

“You can watch the tape, you can study the tape,” Lombardi said. “Look, I think Gronk’s a great player. I’ve always thought Gronk’s a great player. I think Gronk’s a Hall of Fame player, but he’s not right. He doesn’t look like the same player right now. He’s always catching the ball in the crowd, you know he’s not separating from anybody. He’s a huge target, don’t get me wrong, he’s a huge target. He makes some unbelievable catches, but in terms of being open, it’s not easy right now for him. Whether it’s his back, whether it’s his lower body, I don’t know. But I’ll say it again, you could see it last night it was fairly clear.”

Gronkowski also has failed to be a weapon in the red zone this season for the Patriots, garnering just two targets in the big-money area with the season halfway gone. The Patriots star tight end appeared frustrated at his press conference Wednesday when he was asked about his confidence and touchdown drought, cutting off his media availability after a handful of questions.

If the star tight end is indeed losing a step, there’s a chance his illustrious career could be wrapping up sooner than Patriots fans hope.

Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images