New England Patriots legend Willie McGinest appears to have some inside knowledge of a comeback for Rob Gronkowski — though it may not be the kind of comeback that Patriots fans are hoping for.
On the eve of the team’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, McGinest took to Instagram to post a short video with Gronkowski catching passes on the field at Gillette Stadium and the caption “Major comebacks happening in foxboro.” The clip sparked some immediate speculation that Gronkowski could be coming out of his early retirement to rejoin the New England Patriots, a move that would have come just hours after the Patriots snagged All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown.
But as many fans noted, McGinest is more than likely referring to the Patriots unveiling their sixth Super Bowl title banner at the season opener on Sunday night. A number of players are expected to return for the ceremony, Gronkowski included.
Still, New England sports outlet NESN noted that there could be a chance Gronkowski is actually coming back to play for the Patriots again. The report said that he shared an agent with Antonio Brown, and added that McGinest seems to have believed all along that the Hall of Fame tight end was not done with his playing days.
“It’s worth noting McGinest has been calling a Gronkowski comeback since even before the tight end retired over the spring,” the report noted.
As NESN noted in a separate report, many Patriots fans have been begging Gronkowski to come out of retirement and join what appears to be a super-team with Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon as weapons for Tom Brady.
PULL UP, GRONK— Gary Striewski (@garystriewski) September 7, 2019
Patriots now have Antonio Brown, Edelman, and Josh Gordan with Tom Brady. Gronk... Come on back, bro!!!! Let's GO #Patriots!!!!!!!!!! ????????????????????— Brian White (@actorbrianwhite) September 7, 2019
There had already been a series of comeback rumors for Gronkowski over the course of the summer. As MassLive.com reported back in July, a video of Gronkowski chatting with Drew Brees on the red carpet for the 2019 ESPY’s had many thinking that the tight end was discussing plans to return to the league.
“In the clip, Gronkowski can be heard saying. ‘That’s what I’m hoping for’ before lowering his voice saying something about a comeback,” the report noted. “Reports have already popped up that Gronkowski said ‘Yeah, I’m coming back.’ “
Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement after the team won its sixth Super Bowl title last season, saying he had been worn down by a series of injuries. Gronkowski missed significant stretches of his final seasons dealing with a variety of ailments.