Rob Gronkowski‘s days with the Patriots could be coming to a close in short order.
The tight end will strongly consider retirement once again this offseason and those close to him believe he will ultimately walk away from the game, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Gronk, of course, mulled retirement last offseason following Super Bowl LII, but chose to come back for 2018. Gronk was almost traded by New England to the Detroit Lions, but he was steadfast in his desire to only catch passes from Tom Brady. That will also reportedly hold true this offseason as Gronk will simply walk away rather than try to find a new NFL home.
The writing seemed to be on the wall for this to happen as Gronk did look disengaged for the majority of the season. His production also went down from seasons’ past as he caught just 47 passes for 682 yards and three scores. Outside of of Week 1 against the Texans and a couple of flashes at various points this season, Gronkowski hasn’t really display that dominating burst that made him a household name in New England and throughout the NFL.
Gronk also was noncommittal about his future beyond this playoff run while speaking to reporters earlier this year.
Earlier this week, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio also weighed in on the Gronk situation and noted that the tight end seems to have lost his love of the game.
“I don’t know what’s up with Gronk. He seems to have really lost his joy for football,” Florio told WEEI’s Mut and Callahan earlier this week, as transcribed by WEEI.com. “And maybe it is just the accumulation of years of surgeries and injuries. You finally get to a point where you become jaded, you become cynical. You realize it is a business. It is not like college. It is not like high school. I am surprised it took as long as it did for Gronk to get to that point. I was convinced based on things I was hearing in Minnesota last year the week before the Super Bowl that if the Patriots had won that game against the Eagles Gronk would have walked off into the sunset.”
He added: “One of the things last year I was hearing is that there were people in the family that were trying to get him to retire. The concussion issue, he’s had several of them. They are concerned about it. This is a guy who has never spent a dime of his football money. He lives off his marketing dollars and he could make just as much money just being Gronk. He has a good business manager that you can trust and is creative. There are so many avenues for this guy to just kind of show up and be the big, fun loving guy and make a ton of money that way. I think he’s on the brink of doing that.
“I think the body language and everything, the performance this year — when you’re used to being the guy that he was, it has to be so hard to go out on the field and not do things the way you used to. Unless there’s some secret injury we don’t know about, it looks like he’s just got to the point where everything has come together to make him a guy other than who he was and you can only tolerate that for so long before you walk away.”