Despite speculation as soon as he announced his retirement that a comeback could happen, Rob Gronkowski sounds like he’s 100 percent done playing in the NFL.
Speaking to ESPN’s Mike Reiss at an event in Boston on Tuesday, Gronkowski declared he is “done with football” and said he would answer a phone call from Tom Brady, but he “wouldn’t go back” to playing.
After months of speculation about his future plans, Gronkowski ended the suspense on June 21 with a retirement announcement.
Rob Gronkowski @RobGronkowski
Minutes after Gronkowski’s announcement, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter he wouldn’t be surprised to see the five-time Pro Bowler return.
“It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call,” Rosenhaus told Schefter via text. “This is just my opinion but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”
It has become hard to believe any retirement talk from Gronkowski or Brady right now. Brady only lasted 40 days into his retirement before deciding in March he was going to come back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2022 season.
Gronkowski at least made it one full year when he previously retired after the 2018 season with the New England Patriots. He reunited with Brady in Tampa Bay when the Patriots traded his rights to the Bucs in April 2020.
The move paid off for all parties, as the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in Gronkowski’s first season with the club. The 33-year-old was terrific in two seasons with the team. He recorded 1,425 yards and 13 touchdowns on 100 receptions in 28 regular-season starts.
It is easy to understand why Gronkowski would be willing to walk away at a young age. He suffered several significant injuries over the course of his football career dating back to college, including multiple herniated discs in his back.
Assuming this is the definitive end of Gronkowski’s career, he will go down as arguably the best tight end in NFL history. The Arizona alum ranks third all-time among tight ends in receiving touchdowns (92) and fifth in receiving yards (9,286). He was voted to the Pro Bowl team five times, All-Pro first team four times and won four Super Bowls.