You knew this was coming.
Rob Gronkowski, who retired from the NFL in March, has until Nov. 30 to decide if he wants to return to the game that clearly inflicted so much mental and physical anguish on him. And, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, that’s exactly what New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft hopes the 30-year-old will do.
When Gronkowski cleared out his locker last spring, Kraft reportedly told the Patriots legend he wanted him to return for the stretch run of the 2019 season.
From Rapoport’s column published Sunday morning:
“Owner Robert Kraft walked up to him to say goodbye. According to sources, Kraft delivered a clear and concise message that would resonate for months.
“Kraft told Gronkowski that he wants him to return for November, December, and the playoffs stretch run. And that if that happened, the team not only would welcome him back but will remain hopeful that it happens.”
Rapoport, on a potential Gronkowski return, added: “That is exactly what Kraft is hoping for.”
Don’t go jumping for joy just yet, Patriots fans. Gronkowski reportedly has given no indication that he’s considering a return.
It stands to reason Kraft and the Patriots probably want a Gronkowski comeback even more now than they ever thought they would. Despite an 8-1 record and another deep playoff run likely on the horizon, New England has received minimal offensive production from its tight ends this season. Furthermore, Gronkowski’s ability to run-block is something the Patriots have found difficult to replicate.
Gronkowski has remained adamant that, while a return is possible down the road, it likely won’t happen this season. He also recently signed a TV deal with FOX, though he has been curiously absent from the network’s NFL coverage in recent weeks.
Are pleas from Kraft, Tom Brady and perhaps even Bill Belichick enough to woo Gronkowski? We’ll find out by the end of the month.