Rob Gronkowski revealed his much-publicized “next chapter” in a news conference Tuesday, announcing he’d partnered with a company called CBD Medic to advocate for the legalization of CBD use in professional sports league.
He also indicated his final NFL chapter might still be forthcoming.
Though he said he’s thoroughly enjoying retirement, the former New England Patriots tight end left the door open for a potential return to football. Any such comeback, however, would not come until several months down the line at the earliest.
“I needed to walk away, because I needed to do what’s best for myself at that moment,” said Gronkowski, who retired seven weeks after Super Bowl LIII. “I truly needed to be selfish for once in my life and walk away. Yes, I’m on the right path to where I am now, and I’ve got a lot farther to go. I feel great, and I am pain-free. But I truly believe I can get to another level with my body. I’m just in the first stage right now.
“And when that time comes down in the future, if I have the desire to play football again, if I feel passionate about football again, if I’m feeling like I need to be out there on the field, I will go back to football. But as of right now, that is not the case. It could be the case in six months. It could be the case in two years. It could be the case in three years. It could be the case in three months. But I truly don’t see it in the foreseeable future — in, like, a week or a month. No. I want to do a different chapter of my life right now.”
Gronkowski teared up multiple times during his Q-and-A as he discussed the toll his nine-year Patriots career took on his body. He specifically mentioned the hard shot to the quad he took during Super Bowl LIII that caused internal bleeding and took more than a month to heal.
“Wherever I go, Patriot fans always ask, am I coming back, when I’m coming back, where am I coming back?” Gronkowski said. “I’m walking across the street, and they’re like, ‘You’re walking because you’re coming back.’ It’s crazy. I understand. I feel that love. But I want to be clear to my fans: I needed to recover. I was not in a good place. Football was bringing me down, and I didn’t like it. And I was losing that joy in life.”
He later added: “I’m not retired from life. I want the joy in life again. I want the passion in life again. … That’s where I’m at in life. I’m enjoying it, and it’s a good place.”
Gronkowski said his ultimate decision on whether or not to play again will be based on his mental well-being, not his physical health. Physically, he said, he “could play right now if (he) wanted to, hands down.”
“I could run fast right now,” he said. “I’m feeling good. Physically-wise, I could do it. But mentally-wise, desire-wise, it’s not there. My mind, my soul keeps telling me, ‘You need more time off.’ When I feel like my body’s top-notch, my soul, my mind, mentally and physically, I’m ready, then I would go back to the NFL — if I ever get to that point.
“I could be mentally and physically ready, I feel like, but if I’m enjoying my life, business-wise, whatever else-wise going on, I love to stay active, I love to stay fit — if I’m enjoying my life, because I know the toll the NFL (takes). I could be 100 percent healthy and go back, (but) I’d know I’m putting my body in jeopardy. It’s a brutal sport. That’s why everyone loves the game of football. …
“So if I have that desire and I want to go back out there and I’m ready for it, then so be it. That would be the time. It may be never.”