For the second straight NFL offseason, New England Patriots fans will anxiously wait for Rob Gronkowski to make a decision regarding his football future.

Gronkowski mulled retirement in the months following the Patriots’ Super Bowl LII loss only to return to New England for his ninth season in the league. The 2018 campaign wasn’t the star tight end’s best by any means, but Gronk still managed to be a difference-maker in the Patriots’ postseason run en route to a Super Bowl LIII victory.

It wouldn’t be at all shocking if Gronk decides to hang up his pads, as the 29-year-old has dealt with a laundry list of injuries since his arrival to the NFL. But for those hanging on to hope that Gronkowski will return to the Patriots for the 2019 season, Mike Reiss’ latest report likely will boost your spirits.

“It might not mean anything significant as it relates to his career intentions, but with tight end Rob Gronkowski saying he is weighing his football future, he has still shown up at Gillette Stadium multiple times over the past couple of weeks,” Reiss writes for ESPN. “He also made a visit to Boston Children’s Hospital on Wednesday with his family, spending time with patients and donating $80,000. Though he might be visiting Gillette Stadium simply for treatment of his thigh, I also view his time at the facility as a reflection of his being in a good place with how the season ended, both team-wise and personally. That doesn’t guarantee his return in 2019, but it figures to at least be part of his decision-making process on whether to continue his career.”

Putting future plans aside, the last tidbit of Reiss’ report arguably is the most noteworthy. Talk of friction and divide within the Patriots’ organization dominated NFL headlines over the past year-plus, and notes such as the one above only further puts that chatter to rest.

It likely will be some time before Gronkowski makes a definitive decision for his future, which, of course, will prompt fans and media members alike to read into anything they can. And if we’re going down that road, Gronk’s recent appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” is the most telling soundbite thus far.

Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images