Reimer: Rob Gronkowski will not play football again, because he wants to be able to walk

Alex Reimer
March 26, 2019 - 11:05 am

Rob Gronkowski wasn’t even retired for one day before the speculation started about his return to the NFL. Agent Drew Rosenhaus floated the idea to anybody who would listen, telling the “Get Up” crew he could envision Gronk coming back after receiving a midseason phone call from Tom Brady. 

Later in the day on NFL Network, Rosenhaus revealed he had pitched the idea of a midseason return to Gronkowski, but the tight end wasn’t interested. Still, don’t expect the rumors to go away. We will likely spend the next six months deciphering every Gronk promotional tweet, looking for the deeper meaning behind Juicy J lyrics and self-promotional items. 

While it may be in Rosenhaus’ interest to keep his client connected to the NFL, it doesn't seem like Gronkowski has waffled over his decision. In fact, he’s seemingly been gearing up for retirement for a while, dating back to the reports about his unhappiness in training camp 2017. Tom Curran says Gronk was thinking about walking away back then, fed up with the Patriots’ austerity and Bill Belichick chastising him for his training routine with Alex Guerrero.

Gronk, in his caricature form, is a big dummy who loves nothing more than crushing skulls and spiking footballs. But that’s far from the reality. He’s always been cautious about preserving his body, which has undergone at least nine surgical operations since 2009. There were several rehab squabbles between Gronkowski and the team, such as the 2013 campaign, when the Patriots expected Gronkowski to return from multiple offseason forearm procedures and a back surgery roughly one month before he did. 

There was also the episode over his injured knee in 2015, which resulted in the team releasing a rare joint statement with the Gronkowski family. 

At the Super Bowl this year, Gronk spoke candidly about the physical abuse he’s undergone. "The season's a grind. It's up and down. I'm not going to lie and sit here and say every week is the best," Gronkowski told reporters. “Abusing your body isn't what your brain wants. When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You've got to be able to deal with that, too, throughout the season. You gotta be able to deal with that in the games. 

"And no one realizes that, and everyone expects us players to be wide awake every single day, and it's like, ‘Yo, i just took 50 hits to my head … I'm saying I just took 50 collisions, and then the next day everyone wants you to be up. They want practice full speed, next week they want the game to be full speed, but they don't understand sometimes what players are going through with their bodies, with their minds.”

In the immediate aftermath of Super Bowl LIII, where Gronkowski caught two deep passes to set up the game-winning touchdown, Curran writes the all-world tight end showed him a massive bruise on the side of his thigh. 

“It will be red . . . black and blue,” Gronkowski told Curran. “But at least I don’t have to worry about it now.”

Even in a moment of utter euphoria –– the Patriots just won the freaking Super Bowl!!! They proved all of the haters wrong!!!! –– Gronk was focused on his physical condition. 

Maybe Gronkowski won’t be a hit in Hollywood. But he’s apparently working at it. He’s teamed up with an acting coach and has expanded his entertainment portfolio each year. Unlike other wayward NFL stars, Gronk knows what he wants to do with the next chapter of his life. 

Willie McGinest first surfaced the idea of a midseason return for Gronk –– before the big man even announced his retirement –– but it’s worth noting that McGinest may have just been projecting. In 2011, the ex-linebacker was vocal about his interest in playing football again, three years after he had retired. 

The sequel is almost never as good as the original. You leave as a legend, and then come back screaming about interruptions and belittling your co-hosts for saying the word “like.” Gronk is too big of a star, and seemingly has too much self-respect, to return after stepping away. 

WE can’t imagine leaving Tom Brady and the glamours of NFL life. But then again, we also can wake up every Monday morning and walk. There’s lots to be said for a pain-free existence. Gronk wants to finally see what that’s like. 


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