Tom Brady said this week that there is “zero percent” chance he will retire after the Super Bowl, but it may be a different story for one of his favorite targets.
Brady has repeatedly cast off reports that he will be retiring soon, reiterating his plan to keep playing until he is 45. As the Patriots prepare for their third straight Super Bowl this year, Brady has once again fielded those questions and is sticking to his answer.
“I’ve said that for a long time,” Brady told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington in a segment that aired during halftime of the Pro Bowl on Sunday. “I feel like I’m asked that a lot, and I feel like I repeat the same answer. But no one believes me.”
There are few who doubt Brady can continue playing that long, at least barring a major injury. Though his production saw a bit of a dip this season, Brady has remained among the top tier of quarterbacks and has led his team back to the Super Bowl for the ninth time in his career.
But while Tom Brady has no plans to retire, one of his favorite targets could end up hanging up his spikes this year. Tight end Rob Gronkowski has been the subject of retirement rumors for the past several seasons as he deals with a series of injuries that have slowed him considerably.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio believes that this will be the year Gronkowski finally calls it quits.
“I think there’s a good chance he just walks away after this year unless the Patriots are willing to rip up the last year of that contract and give him some form of security that is not tied to being healthy and producing on the field,” Florio said in an interview on WEEI.
Florio said that Gronkowski seemed to confirm he had already been thinking about retirement last season, and reports indicated that he plans to start an acting career once he is done with the NFL. Gronkowski has also been famously stingy with his money, living off of his endorsement deals and banking his entire NFL salary, so he could slide into retirement at any time he chooses.
If the rumors are true, then next Sunday’s Super Bowl could be the last game that both Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady are on the field for the New England Patriots at the same time.