Maybe the end for Rob Gronkowski isn’t as near as we think.

Gronkowski reportedly flirted with retirement in the months following the Patriots’ Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, leading many to believe the star tight end will call it a career after New England’s clash with the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Discussing the possibility of Gronk’s retirement Tuesday on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith initially stated his belief that the chances are better than 50/50 that the 29-year-old rides off into the sunset if the Patriots are crowned champions at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. But at the conclusion of the segment, the “First Take” co-host received a new piece of information that countered his original stance.

“I just got a text message from somebody with incredibly close ties to the New England Patriots that says Rob Gronkowski is not retiring because (Tom) Brady didn’t retire,” Smith said. “Just so ya’ll know.”

It wouldn’t be shocking to see Gronkowski hang up his pads after the 2018 season finale, as the four-time All-Pro has battled through a laundry list of injuries over the course of his nine-year career. That said, Gronk recently professed that Brady makes football “the best it possibly can be,” and the Patriots QB already has made it clear there’s “zero” chance he retires after Super Bowl LIII.

Gronkowski still has one year remaining on his current deal. So while the likelihood didn’t seem very high a year ago, maybe we will see the veteran TE live out the entirety of his contract in New England after all.

Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports