ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio said a couple of weeks ago he believes Rob Gronkowski would have retired after last season had the New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. He also expressed doubt over the Patriots tight end returning for the 2019 campaign.
On Friday, Florio doubled down on his assessment, wondering whether Gronkowski truly enjoys playing football anymore after what he’s been through physically and mentally in his nine-year NFL career.
“I don’t know what’s up with Gronk. He seems to have really lost his joy for football,” Florio said Friday on WEEI’s “Mut & Callahan,” per WEEI.com. “And maybe it is just the accumulation of years of surgeries and injuries. You finally get to a point where you become jaded, you become cynical. You realize it is a business. It is not like college. It is not like high school.
“I am surprised it took as long as it did for Gronk to get to that point. I was convinced based on things I was hearing in Minnesota last year, the week before the Super Bowl, that if the Patriots had won that game against the Eagles, Gronk would have walked off into the sunset.”
Gronkowski, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, hasn’t looked like himself this season, during which he posted subpar numbers by his typically dominant standards. The 29-year-old totaled 47 catches for 682 yards with three touchdowns in 13 games.
It’s entirely possible Gronkowski, who considered retirement after last season’s Super Bowl loss to the Eagles before ultimately returning for another year alongside Tom Brady in New England’s offense, will step away from football whenever the Patriots’ current playoff run ends.
“I think he would walk away and retire,” Florio said, per WEEI.com, downplaying the possibility of the Patriots trading Gronkowski and him playing for another team. “One of the things last year I was hearing is that there were people in the family that were trying to get him to retire. The concussion issue, he’s had several of them. They are concerned about it.
“This is a guy who has never spent a dime of his football money. He lives off his marketing dollars and he could make just as much money just being Gronk. He has a good business manager that you can trust and is creative. There are so many avenues for this guy to just kind of show up and be the big, fun-loving guy and make a ton of money that way. I think he’s on the brink of doing that.”
In other words, this Sunday’s divisional-round matchup between the Patriots and Chargers at Gillette Stadium could be Gronkowski’s last ride, if we’re to believe Florio.
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