Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced Sunday over Instagram that he’s calling it quits and ending his stellar career.
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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.
But Monday morning on ESPN’s Get Up morning show, Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, left the door ever-so-slightly ajar that Gronk could perhaps return to the gridiron at some point.
“Rob is 29 years old. He’s still a very young man. It wouldn’t shock me if he has a change of heart, if he feels great and he decides that he wants to play football,” Drew Rosenhaus said according to ESPN.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 25, 2019
Rosenhaus added that it’s pure speculation on his part.
“But this is just me talking. This isn’t Rob. And I don’t want to create any unnecessary expectations. Rob is a very unique personality,” Rosenhaus said.
“If the team was struggling or they needed him at some point next year, and let’s just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said ‘Rob, I need you,’ I wouldn’t be shocked if he came back to play a few games,” he added.
He reiterated that it’s unlikely.
“Rob Gronkowski is retired and it’s unlikely that he will ever play football again,” Rosenhaus said. “However, I did close my conversation with Rob yesterday when he called to tell me he was going to retire, and I said, ‘Rob, just keep in mind that if you ever have a change of heart, you can come back and play. I’m sure the Patriots would welcome you with open arms. If it’s sometime during the season. If it’s late in the year. If you feel good and want to come back and play, we’ll make it happen.'”
There is precedent — just look at what Cowboys tight end Jason Witten did, retiring to work for Monday Night Football for one year before rejoining the Cowboys this year.
“That’s all. It was just a suggestion. I couldn’t let go without leaving that in Rob’s ear. Hey listen, Jason Witten did it. Witten (is) another Hall of Fame tight end; he took the year off and decided to come back,” Rosenhaus said, reported ESPN.
What was Gronkowski’s reaction?
“He really was just laughing about it. He pretty much told me he’s done with football at this point and he’s ready to move on with his life, and football is really a thing in the past. But young guys, they can change their mind. You never know,” the agent noted.
There have been other players, besides Witten, that have come out of retirement. Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre announced his retirement in 2009 after one season with the Jets, only to sign with the Vikings for two more years later that year.
But Gronkowski, while still young, is a man in high demand for his talents off the football field and it’s likely that he’ll go off to have success in whatever field he chooses to pursue.
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