NFL Hall of Fame voters share thoughts on Rob Gronkowski, including some who believe he won't get in right away

Ryan Hannable
February 14, 2019 - 10:47 am

There's a chance Rob Gronkowski will retire this offseason, which then turns the conversation to him one day getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Gronkowski has been one of the most dominant players of his era, but there have been some questions of if his numbers will be good enough considering how many games he's missed due to injury.

With that being said, in nine NFL seasons he has three Super Bowl titles and has been a first-team All-Pro four times.

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald talked to a few Hall of Fame voters and the general consensus is he will likely one day get in, but maybe not on the first ballot like Tony Gonzalez did this past year.

“His stats aren’t as high as some of these other guys [who are in]. But there’s no doubt he’s the most complete tight end of his era. But with his stats, there might be some discussion on whether he’d be a first ballot guy, or not,” Terez Paylor of Yahoo! Sports said. “I can see it playing out where he might have to wait a little bit. But he’s done enough to wear a jacket. Rob Gronkowski will be a Hall of Famer one day. He passes that eye test. He made so many big plays in so many big games. He’s won so many rings. It’s going to happen. It just comes down to when. I don’t know the answer to that. But, there’s no doubt he’ll wear that jacket one day. It’s just a matter of when he’ll get put in.”

Overall, Gronkowski has 521 receptions, 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns.

Ron Borges, a former Herald columnist and is on the committee, believes getting in on the first try is overrated.

“I think first ballot has become the most overrated, overhyped, over-discussed thing in history. That’s why the Hall of Fame Committee has lost their minds,” he said. “We put in eight first ballot Hall of Famers in the last three years. Give me a break. How can Champ Bailey be a first ballot Hall of Famer, and Ty Law is not, when Ty Law exceeds him in every quantifiable statistical area of playing the position? How is that possible? But it happened. We put in 35 first-ballot Hall of Famers since the turn of the century, or the last 19 years. In the previous 37 years, 42. So it’s become cheapened in my humble opinion.”

Borges added: “Do I think he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer? No, not at the moment. If he continues playing, and puts up some more numbers, then maybe he becomes one. Do I think he’s a Hall of Famer? He’s got a very strong case. I would be shocked if he wasn’t in the room to be debated. I mean, that’s the first thing, you gotta get in the room. If you don’t get in the room, none of the rest of it matters.”

Another voter, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, said he will have no problem voting Gronkowski in.

“Wes Welker is the best slot receiver I’ve ever seen, but Gronk’s the best weapon Brady’s ever had,” he said. “[Randy] Moss had that great year, but then he was gone like a shooting star. I believe Gronkowski is going to go in the Hall of Fame without a doubt and is worthy of that first ballot. I’ve been watching football since 1960. When you think about the combination of size, the speed he had at that size, and being an underrated blocker, and being able to line up at so many different spots, his career average is over 15 yards [per catch]. I’ll say this, when Gronk is eligible, I’ll vote for him. To me, he’s a no-brainer if he never plays another play.”

It certainly is an interesting debate, but it will be one that plays out over time. After all, if Gronkowski indeed calls it a career he won't be eligible for the Hall of Fame for five more years.

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