Rob Gronkowski’s future in football has been in question for the past season as the renowned tight end continues to battle the effects of injuries sustained during his career. Football is hard on the body. It’s something that “Gronk” acknowledged in a recent press conference, which did little to quell fears that he’s ready to hang up his cleats.
“It’s tough, it’s difficult. To take hits to the thigh, take hits to your head. Abusing your body isn’t what your brain wants,” he said on Wednesday, as reported by the Boston Globe. “When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You’ve got to be able to deal with that, too, throughout the season. You’ve got to be able to deal with that in the games.”
He later lamented the pressure of being asked to perform at the highest level even though his body takes a beating game after game.
“They want practice full speed, next week they want the game to be full speed, but they don’t understand sometimes what players are going through with their bodies, with their minds.”
While this statement seems indicative of a man on the brink of retirement, ESPN reported that earlier in the week, Gronkowski said that he thinks his body can withstand “many, many” years of football.
According to their article, the Patriot’s star quarterback, Tom Brady, said that he and Gronkowski had not talked about his retirement. Brady later said that he’d told Gronk that he’d succeed at anything he chose to do in the future. That’s high praise from a player who’s going for his sixth Super Bowl win at 41-years-old.
Per Sports Injury Predictor, Gronk has had major surgeries on his back, forearm, and knee over the years. But he has admitted that the 2018 season was especially difficult. Back and ankle injuries forced him to sit out games and they also affected his performance on the field. As Boston.com noted, his recent stats paint the picture of a career in decline – 47 catches for 682 yards and only three touchdowns.
Whatever he decides, it’s safe to say that Gronkowski has made his mark on the game. This season may have been disappointing, but there are still people who consider him one of the best, if not the best, tight ends in the game. We’ll just have to wait and see if he has enough gas in his tank to continue building his legacy after Super Bowl LIII.