Rob Gronkowski isn’t rejoining the Patriots this season.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reminded everyone of this via Twitter on Monday, one day after New England suffered a 28-22 loss to the Texans in Houston.
It was expected, now official: Rob Gronkowski cannot return in 2019. His deadline to return this season was 4pm ET Saturday, the last business day prior to a Week 13 game for reinstatement for players on reserve list. Gronkowski will be eligible to return again after Super Bowl.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 2, 2019
As Schefter notes in the tweet above, the deadline for Gronkowski to return this season was 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. That deadline came and went without No. 87 racing to the rescue, so the Patriots officially must look elsewhere in their attempt to spark their struggling offense.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Gronkowski has said multiple times he’s still retired despite teasing Patriots fans throughout the 2019 season. But that does little to soften the blow of reality. New England has received virtually zero production from its tight ends this season, the first since Gronk hung up his cleats after the Patriots’ Super Bowl LIII win over the Los Angeles Rams.
The Patriots, whose loss to the Texans bumped them down to the No. 2 seed in the AFC standings behind the Baltimore Ravens, welcome the Kansas City Chiefs to Foxboro this Sunday for a much-anticipated rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game.