NFL

NFL Rumors Say Rob Gronkowski Will Come Back From Retirement

New England Patriots - Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski surprised fans when he announced his retirement in March. Despite battling injuries in recent years, he’d played at a high level last season. Since his decision, many have speculated that Gronk may return for another season with the Patriots. Those rumors continue to pick up steam, partly because he was caught practicing with a former teammate.

Rob Gronkowski’s career stats

During his nine-year career, the three-time Super Bowl champion became one of the best tight ends in NFL history. In 115 regular-season games, Gronkowski had 521 receptions for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns. Despite touching the ball more than 500 times, the 30-year-old only has four fumbles on his ledger.

Gronkowski’s career year came in his second NFL season, 2011, when he set career highs with 90 catches, 1,327 yards, and 17 touchdowns. It was also the last season he played in all 16 games, as a series of injuries limited him moving forward. Regardless, the tight end added another 81 catches and 12 touchdowns in 16 postseason games.

The retirement announcement

View this post on Instagram

It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

On March 24, 2019, Gronkowski announced his retirement on Instagram. The news created somewhat of an uproar in the NFL community because losing Gronkowski removes one of Tom Brady’s best targets in the passing game.

Gronk had been rumored to be contemplating retirement for the past few seasons. He decided it was time after the Patriots won Super Bowl LIII in February, so he could go out on a high note with a third ring. In the wake of his retirement, people speculated about Gronk’s future. Common guesses included acting and a second career in the WWE.

Is he really retired?

Speculation about a comeback grew in July when Gronkowski was spotted doing a private workout with Brady at UCLA. The former tight end was in Los Angeles for a charity basketball game. He confirmed that he’d trained with Brady as well as the QB’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, who Gronk has exercised with in the past. Gronkowski told TMZ, “It was great working out,” and when Brady needs someone to throw to “he┬ácalls Mr. Reliable Robbie G the one and only!”

Gronkowski has slimmed down to 250 pounds — about 15 pounds less than his NFL weight. He doesn’t necessarily look ready for football, and he says he’s enjoying being retired. However, the athlete may change his mind once he sees the Patriots playing. Gronk shared he “can’t really say how I’m going to feel about it when the games start rolling around and everything.”

The Patriots without Gronkowski

New England has big shoes to fill at tight end. Right now, veteran Benjamin Watson sits at the top of the depth chart with Matt LaCosse, who has 27 career catches in three seasons with the Giants and Broncos.

Unless the Patriots make an addition at the position — or Gronkowski returns — Watson and LaCosse are unlikely, even combined, to match Gronk-type numbers. Julian Edelman should be the team’s top pass-catcher, taking a lot of the targets and receptions Gronkowski would normally have.