OK, now Rob Gronkowski is just twisting the knife.

Gronkowski, who has until Nov. 30 to inform the New England Patriots whether he plans to end his retirement, effectively ended all speculation Tuesday morning when he announced his Super Bowl LIV party. He also reaffirmed his intentions to stay retired this season in a conversation with ESPN’s Mike Reiss, while also leaving the door open for a potential return down the road.

The news was a bitter pill to swallow for Patriots fans, many of whom have been led on by Gronkowski’s ceaseless teasing since announcing his retirement. And sure, there’s something to be said for being too gullible, but Gronkowski probably deserves criticism for dangling the carrot for so long, especially after he nearly broke down when talking about why he left football.

However, Gronkowski might have gone a bit too far during his conversation with Reiss.

Check out his assessment of the Patriots:

“The defense is just tremendous, the way they’re coming together with the veteran leadership they have there, and the skill set they have,” Gronkowski told Reiss.

“With the offense, they’re finding ways to make it work like they’ve always done, putting guys in the right situation to make plays.

“But man, they’re missing some guy who is 6-6, 260 (pounds). They’re missing that guy, for sure.”

Yes, Rob, we know they’re missing that player. And you for months have been complicit in people expecting the return of that very player.

At the end of the day, Gronkowski can say and do whatever he wants to keep his brand relevant. It’s also hard to entirely knock such a likable guy who clearly just wants to have some fun after so many admittedly joyless years in New England.

But at some point an act wears thin and becomes worse than disingenuous. If we haven’t already reached that point with Gronkowski, we’re getting awfully close.

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