Rob Gronkowski is back in football, but you won’t see the former New England Patriots tight end strapping his pads back on. At least not for now.

Gronkowski has been hired by FOX Sports to be a regular analyst on the network’s “FOX NFL Sunday” program. Gronkowski will be the newest member of the crew which includes the likes of Michael Strahan, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw.

“I’m extremely excited to be joining FOX Sports,” Gronkowski said, via FOX Sports’ press release. “For the past 25 years, they’ve offered viewers top-notch NFL programming from the field to the booth to the studio. Their deep talent roster is unmatched, which was important for me as I embark on this new chapter in my life because I’ll be able to learn from the best in the business.”

Gronkowski’s hiring comes at awfully convenient timing. The network announced the future Hall of Famer will make his analyst debut Thursday night before the primetime clash between the New York Giants and, you guessed it, the Patriots.

For New England fans still holding on to hope that Gronkowski hasn’t played his last down, this news shouldn’t be taken as the nail in the coffin. As NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo pointed out upon news breaking of Gronk’s new role, Jay Cutler returned to the gridiron to play a season with the Miami Dolphins after inking a deal with FOX Sports to be a commentator.

So while the Foxboro Faithful likely would rather see Gronkowski catching passes for Tom Brady, especially given New England’s tight end woes, they’ll surely enjoy him bringing the laughs to their televisions on a weekly basis.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images