As the New England Patriots prepare for their Super Bowl LIII matchup with the Los Angeles Rams, it’s hard not to wonder whether the championship showdown will mark the end of an era.
No, we’re not talking about Tom Brady or Bill Belichick, two Patriots stalwarts who’ve established themselves as the greatest quarterback and coach, respectively, in NFL history.
We’re referring to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who’s been the subject of retirement speculation dating back to last year’s Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Gronkowski, a second-round pick in 2010, is wrapping up his ninth NFL season — all with the Patriots — and it’s entirely possible the 29-year-old will step away from football after New England’s clash with Los Angeles at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. So far, he hasn’t indicated either way whether he intends to return for the 2019 season.
Damien Woody, who spent five seasons with the Patriots from 1999 to 2003, explained Friday on ESPN’s “Get Up!” why he believes Super Bowl LIII will mark Gronkowski’s final NFL game.
Gronkowski has dealt with an abundance of injuries over the years and is coming off a down season relative to his typically dominant standards. Maybe he’ll sit back when the dust settles, win or lose, and decide he wants to come back for another go-round, but we already know he considered retirement after last season.
It should come as no surprise if Gronk rides off into the sunset this time.