Why Rob Gronkowski will stay retired even after leaving door open for return in latest press conference

Ryan Hannable
August 28, 2019 - 7:13 am

It seems following every appearance Rob Gronkowski makes, heck even every social media post, speculation fills the air that the former Patriots tight end will un-retire during the upcoming season. 

Listen to your team news NOW.

“And when that time comes down in the future, if I have the desire to play football again, if I feel passionate about football again, if I’m feeling like I need to be out there on the field, I will go back to football,” Gronkowski said at a press conference in New York City to announce a partnership with CBD Medic to advocate for the legalization of CBD use in professional sports. “But as of right now, that is not the case. It could be the case in six months. It could be the case in two years. It could be the case in three years. It could be the case in three months. But I truly don’t see it in the foreseeable future — in, like, a week or a month. No. I want to do a different chapter of my life right now.” 

Once again, Gronkowski is not completely closing the door on a return some day, but those weren’t the only things he said Tuesday about the game of football.

While that is the quote getting talked about the most, Gronkowski said some other things about the game and what he’s currently thinking. Those were perhaps the most revealing.

“I could run fast right now,” he said. “I’m feeling good. Physically-wise, I could do it. But mentally-wise, desire-wise, it’s not there. My mind, my soul keeps telling me, ‘You need more time off.’ When I feel like my body’s top-notch, my soul, my mind, mentally and physically, I’m ready, then I would go back to the NFL — if I ever get to that point. 

“I could be mentally and physically ready, I feel like, but if I’m enjoying my life, business-wise, whatever else-wise going on, I love to stay active, I love to stay fit — if I’m enjoying my life, because I know the toll the NFL (takes). I could be 100 percent healthy and go back, (but) I’d know I’m putting my body in jeopardy. It’s a brutal sport. That’s why everyone loves the game of football. … So if I have that desire and I want to go back out there and I’m ready for it, then so be it. That would be the time. It may be never.”

This was maybe the most raw and emotional we’ve ever seen Gronkowski, who shed tears at one point, and it was made very clear just how tough last season was for him from a mental standpoint. There seemed to be a lot of similarities to what Andrew Luck said last weekend — football just wasn’t fun for him anymore.

Gronkowski doesn’t need to even say it for everyone to know he could hop back on a team tomorrow from a physical standpoint and be just fine. But like he said, it’s more the mental aspect keeping him away.

The tight end has made it clear over the past year how much Tom Brady means to him, and with the potential for this to be his last season in New England either because of retirement or playing elsewhere since he’ll be a free agent, would the situation even be right to come back? 

It’s hard to imagine Gronkowski coming out of retirement to play alongside Jarrett Stidham, N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers.

Gronkowski can say how much he loves the game and all that, but part of it is playing with the people he’s closest to, and there’s a chance when he may be ready to come back and play those players are no longer around.

Also, what does he even have to gain by coming back and playing again? 

From a business perspective, it does makes sense for Gronkowski to keep the comeback talk going. 

Just look at how many people found an internet livestream Tuesday morning to hear what  Gronkowski had to say only to find out it was just a partnership with CBD Medic. That’s exactly what that company wanted. It got as many eyeballs on its brand as it possibly could, and that would not have been the case without the possibly of a return still being in the cards.

And this likely won’t be the only press conference Gronkowski holds in the coming weeks and months. 

Gronkowski and his people know what they are doing. As long as a comeback is still possible, the more interest there will be whenever the former tight end announces a press conference or any appearance.

Another reason Tuesday was an indication Gronkowski may not be coming back is the product he partnered with — CBD — is on the NFL’s banned substance list. Certainly, that could change with the next CBA, but why would CBD sign a deal with Gronkowski only for him to break it in just a few short months or even year because he can no longer use it.

The speculation on a potential return for Gronkowski truly won’t go away and it likely won’t all season, but it’s important to remember that is how the big fella himself wants it.

Embrace the hype, just don’t buy into it.

Related: Patriots react to David Andrews news, how he'll be replaced