The New England Patriots are on to the 2019 NFL season, but it remains to be seen if Rob Gronkowski is as well.

The Patriots achieved their ultimate goal Sunday night, hanging on for a 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. And as most expected, there was a common theme among questions Gronkowski received following the big victory.

While Tom Brady already has made it clear he’ll be returning next season, Gronkowski has provided little to no clarity on his future plans. The veteran tight end deflected postgame retirement questions at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, instead directing the attention on enjoying another Lombardi Trophy with his team.

But when the celebrations ultimately come to a close, Gronkowski will sit down and evaluate what’s next. Stephen A. Smith, for one, believes the five-time Pro Bowl selection should call it a career.

“Money aside, because obviously if you have an opportunity to make an exorbitant amount of dollars and take care of yourself and your family for the future, that’s the obvious answer,” Smith said Monday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “But for me, personally, shoving aside money, I think from a health perspective — what he brings to the table, clearly we saw some regression to some degree probably, mainly, due to health. If I were him I’d walk away. He’s won multiple Super Bowl championships. He’s been a part of this team for many years. He’s doing some things off the field that people have praised him for. So he’s been taking care of himself, he’s still marketable. I think if Gronk wanted to get a job in television making millions for years to come, he’s somebody that has the capability to pull it off. Particularly with his credentials — he’ll go down as one of if not the greatest tight end in the history of football, at least from a talent perspective if not numbers, of course.

“So I look at it from that perspective and I say, hey, this is what it is and this is what it comes down to. There’s not really much more for him to accomplish and I think the only reason he would be playing is to be alongside Brady. He has nothing left to prove. Again, I’m not trying to be in his pockets in terms of money. But assuming he doesn’t need the money from a career perspective, I think he’s done all that he can do. I think from a health standpoint it only goes downhill from here for him. I’d walk away.”

It’s been well-documented that Gronkowski has handled his finances very well, so we have a feeling the 29-year-old is sitting pretty when it comes to his bank account. But as Smith notes, there are big dollars to be made in other capacities outside of the NFL, and it’s tough to imagine Gronk will have a shortage of post-football options.

We’ll have to wait and see if Gronkowski returns for his 10th season. But if Super Bowl LIII was his last hoorah, he went out on the highest of high notes.

Thumbnail photo via John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports