Former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski left the NFL early, and on his own terms. While injuries plagued his career, he held on as one of the best tight ends to ever do it. Under these circumstances, the demands to return are inevitable. After all, athletes are noted for a common drive to compete after initially retiring. Is it even possible for Rob Gronkowski to have an NFL comeback? Well, there is one issue that could definitively prevent this.
How Rob Gronkowski’s new post-NFL job clashes with NFL rules
Since retirement, Gronk makes a point to speak frankly about the long-tail effects of his injuries. No longer bound by the NFL’s banned substance list, he explored alternative methods to cope with chronic pain. In the process, he discovered CBD, and quickly became an evangelist for this non-addictive alternative to conventional acute pain management medication.
Gronk signed on as a spokesperson for Abacus Health’s CBDMedic line of cannabis-based pain management products. CBD is legal in most of the United States. It does not include the psychoactive elements of recreational marijuana. Unfortunately, ingesting CBD and representing the brand both violate NFL policies.
Gronk has other options if the NFL doesn’t change its tune on CBD. He often notes that he’d like to return to the WWE for at least one high-profile match. And his consistent charity work continues to be a major force in his life.
Will professional sports leagues reconsider CBD bans?
Every major American professional sports league currently bans cannabis and related derivatives. Gronk thinks that needs to change.
At a CBDMedic press conference, he told the assembled press “I’m here today to appeal to the sports governing bodies of the world to update their positions on CBD. Whether that’s the MLB, NBA or NFL, it’s just time.”
There is already movement on this issue. At the insistence of the players union, the NFL agreed to explore allowing CBD for pain management. Commissioner Roger Goodell claims the league will follow whatever the science tells them on this topic.
Current research leans towards Gronk’s way of seeing things. Of particular interest to the NFL, cannabinoids exhibit neuroprotective properties. CBD use correlates with lowering inflammation of brain tissue. Pending further research, Gronk’s preferred therapeutic routine could also help manage concussions and CTE symptoms.
Does Rob Gronkowski want an NFL combeback?
Rumors persist that Rob Gronkowski will make a combeback. His work with CBDMedic and ongoing CBD therapy prevents that, but both could be dropped if he personally decided to go back to work on the gridiron.
Primarily, he talks about recovering from the rigors of professional football. When Andrew Luck similarly announced an early retirement, Gronk defended him.
He pulled no punches on the misconceptions held by many fans and the press: “I don’t feel like they really understand what the beatings can truly do to your body. How they can affect your overall life, and how they can take away joy from your life because your brain is just trying to focus on healing a body part because you took such a massive hit.”
At other times, Gronk’s own words fuel rumors that his retirement isn’t exactly final. He told reporter Ian Rapoport he would need just “one month, if that” to get back in playing condition. “If I get the gut feeling [to return], that’s what I would need.”
People close to the situation point to a possible return as well. Ex-Patriots TE Jermaine Wiggins told TMZ Sports, “You heard it here first, he’s going to be back this year!”
All we can truly say at this point? Gronk represents a CBD company and uses their products. Until that changes, Rob Gronkowski’s NFL comeback will have to wait.