Prepare yourself for GronkWatch 2019, New England Patriots fans.
In an interview with Peter King of NBC Sports after Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday, Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, relayed that “it wouldn’t shock him if Gronkowski decided to come back sometime in 2019.”
The potential for a midseason Gronk return previous had been raised by NFL Network analyst and former Patriots star Willie McGinest, and it certainly was noteworthy to hear the tight end’s own agent discuss that same scenario.
The Patriots still have several months to restock their currently barren group of skill-position players, but if their offense experiences some expected decline after losing one of the greatest weapons in NFL history, it’s not hard to imagine Tom Brady or Bill Belichick trying to convince Gronkowski to strap the pads back on for one last run.
Part of the reason for Gronkowski’s retirement, according to Rosenhaus, was the desire to “do nothing for a while” after winning his third Super Bowl title in February. Perhaps his feelings will change once he’s had a few more months to rest and recover.
“It’s time,” Gronkowski said, as told to King by Rosenhaus. “I just won another championship. I’m going out on top. I just want to do nothing for a while. I just want to be me. I just want to have fun.”
In his Football Morning in America column Monday, King also reported the Patriots are “chagrined” Gronkowski took this long to announce his intentions for the 2019 season. Had he done so before or early in free agency, New England would have had an extra $9 million in salary cap space to use to improve its roster.
The Patriots are especially thin at tight end (Jacob Hollister, Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse) and wide receiver (Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Braxton Berrios, Bruce Ellington, Maurice Harris, Damoun Patterson and Matthew Slater), positions they now need to address either through the draft or via trade.
UPDATE (10:10 a.m. ET): Rosenhaus expanded on the potential for a Gronkowski return during an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up.”