It’s now been more than a month since Super Bowl LIII, and the Rob Gronkowski retirement question still has not been answered.
Gronkowski said after the New England Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams he would take “a week or two” to celebrate the victory and decompress after a long season before making a decision on whether to return in 2019.
We’re still waiting on an announcement of that decision, but a report Tuesday from ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio suggested there’s a strong possibility the superstar tight end delays retirement to play another season.
On WEEI’s “Mut & Callahan,” Florio said he heard before the Super Bowl that if Gronkowski made it through the game healthy and quarterback Tom Brady remained with the team for the upcoming season, there was a “good chance” Gronk would play in 2019.
“I was told on Super Bowl Sunday that if he emerges from the Super Bowl healthy and he knows Brady is all in for another year, there’s a good chance he comes back, which is a surprise,” Florio said. “It is a major shift from how he was thinking a year ago. But he got through the year largely unscathed. He’s healthy. He’s feeling good. Maybe he’s thinking, and maybe Tom Brady has been working on him, maybe that Alex Guerrero book has got him something in his avocado ice cream that is making him love football a little bit more.
“It would be a surprise if he changes his mind and plays, but the longer this goes on — when he said after the Super Bowl he would make his decision in a week or two, that told me he would announce the decision he already made in a week or two and he’s retiring. Here we are a month later, and he hasn’t announced a decision yet. Maybe he is thinking about it a little bit longer than he did last year.”
Gronkowski didn’t leave the Super Bowl completely unscathed — he suffered a bad quad bruise that lingered for multiple days — but he avoided any serious injuries. As for part two of that plan, Brady, who turns 42 in August, has insisted he’s still a long ways off from retirement.
It might not be that simple, though. Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston reported Monday that Gronkowski’s decision also will hinge on how much help he has on the tight end depth chart. Non-Gronk tight ends caught just seven total passes for New England in 2018, and Gronkowski, who dealt with back and ankle injuries for much of the regular season, would appreciate a lighter workload, according to Curran.
The Patriots already have begun reshaping that position group. They released Dwayne Allen, Gronkowski’s top backup, on Monday and met with nearly every top tight end prospect last week at the NFL Scouting Combine. Gronkowski, Jacob Hollister, Stephen Anderson and Ryan Izzo currently are under contract for the 2019 season.
Gronkowski spent the weekend vacationing in Cabo with a group that included girlfriend Camille Kostek and former NFL wide receiver Eric Decker, who was in training camp with the Patriots last summer.
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