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Mike Florio on M&C: Rob Gronkowski would've retired had Patriots won Super Bowl LII

Evan Marinofsky
December 28, 2018 - 12:55 pm

It's no secret that Rob Gronkowski has had a rocky 2018.

Thursday saw him deflect a question about playing football in 2019. In response, Friday saw Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio come down hard on the Patriots tight end appearing on Mut & Callahan with Ken Laird, Alex Reimer and Rob Bradford filling in. 

"If they gave me a helmet and shoulder pads, I'd be very engaged and try very hard as well," said Florio. "I wouldn't be very good and I think that's kind of where we are and it's a hard reality and tough to see happen. Somebody said it looks like Willie Mays playing center field for the New York Mets back in the day. He's not the guy he once was." 

Florio believes had Super Bowl LII gone the other way, Gronkowski may have retired.

"I firmly believe he would've retired if the Patriots beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl," he said. "Remember that press conference after the Super Bowl where they asked him about those rumors and he said 'I don't know how you found out about that'? That confirms there's a that to have found out about. I think he has family members trying to get him to walk away because of concerns over head trauma and he can make a ton of money just being Gronk. I'd be surprised if he's back next year." 

Gronk's stat line ranks among the bottom of his career: 45 receptions on 70 targets for 658 receiving yards and three touchdowns. 

"He's not the same guy this year," said Florio. "He's not the threat that he was. He's not that guy that constantly has to be double-covered. He's not as important to the offense as he used to be. We always hear Bill Belichick gets rid of a guy one year too early instead of one year too late. Boy, it sure feels like he waited one year too late with Gronk.

"This gets back to the same issue with Tom Brady; even a diminished Gronk is still better than most of your other options. That's ultimately why Belichick decided to bring him back for 2018." 

Despite the criticism, Florio believes Gronk will know when to call it quits.

"I think he'd retire before he'd play somewhere else just because if it's done, it's done," said Florio of Gronk's future. "Even though he comes off as a doofus at times, some of that is calculated. I think he's very self-aware and he'll know that it's time to move on."

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