As he continues to battle injuries that have plagued him since his college career at the University Arizona, according to Sports Illustrated, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was rumored throughout the 2018 season to be contemplating retirement.
The 29-year-old Gronkowski himself confirmed that retirement was at least on the table for him in a press conference following the Patriots’ Super Bowl 53 win over the Los Angeles Rams, saying that he would make a decision in a “week or two,” per SI. But as of Sunday, two weeks have now gone by since the Patriots captured their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy — and third of Gronkowski’s nine-year NFL career, all spent in New England — and the star tight end has not announced any decision.
But according to ESPN Boston reporter Mike Reiss, Gronkowski may have given a sign that he plans to return to the Patriots for the 2019 season. Reiss reported that in the 14 days since the Super Bowl, Gronkowski has “shown up at Gillette Stadium multiple times.”
“I view his time at the facility as a reflection of his being in a good place with how the season ended, both team-wise and personally,” Reiss wrote. “That doesn’t guarantee his return in 2019, but it figures to at least be part of his decision-making process on whether to continue his career.”
In college, Gronkowski — who is listed at six feet, six inches and 265 pounds — missed the entire 2009 season with a herniated disk in his spine. But the Patriots selected him in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft, 42nd overall, anyway, according to Pro Football Reference data.
His injuries continued as a pro, as Gronkowski suffered a high ankle sprain, hip pull, and fractured forearm in 2012, according to SI. He re-fractured the arm the following year and also suffered a fractured vertebrae that kept him out until Week 7 of the 2013 season. But in a game against the Cleveland Browns on December 8 of that year, Gronkowski endured a concussion, a torn ACL ligament, and torn MCL ligament, all on the same play.
Gronkowski’s injuries continued in every season, up to the 2018 season when he missed three games with back and ankle injuries, according to the Boston Globe, leading to speculation that Gronkowski would end his career in order to preserve his physical health.
Whether the Super Bowl win salved Gronkowski’s wounds remains unclear, but according to Ryan Hannable of Boston radio station WEEI, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
“It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gronkowski make a decision on his future sooner rather than later so the team can address the position in the offseason if necessary,” he said.