Retirement appears to be on Rob Gronkowski's radar.
The Patriots star tight end and Western New York native wouldn't commit to returning for a ninth season when asked by reporters after Sunday's Super Bowl loss to the Eagles.
Rob Gronkowski said he was going to reflect on his future when asked if he’s considering retiring.
He wouldn’t commit to returning in 2018. pic.twitter.com/ApdZKKMqyM
— Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis) February 5, 2018
"I don't know how you heard that," Gronkowski said when asked about potentially retiring. "But, I mean, I'm definitely going to look at my future, for sure. Sit down in the next couple weeks and see where I'm at."
Gronkowski, who turns 29 in May, is still near the top of his game but has battled several significant injuries throughout his career, including to his back, left forearm and right knee. He most recently dealt with a concussion suffered in the AFC Championship game.
Gronkowski, who had nine catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, would not comment further.
“I’m not ready for these types of questions right now. I’m just going to sit down, reflect on the season, talk to my teammates,” he said. “We fought all year long. All the receivers, running backs, linemen, I mean we put all the work in together.”
Gronkowski's 1,084 receiving yards ranked 10th in the NFL this season and led all tight ends. He was named All-Pro for the fourth time and a Pro Bowler for the fifth time.
If Gronkowski does call it a career, it was one with Hall-of-Fame credentials. He was – and still is – the most dominant player of his era at his position.
Gronkowski's 7,179 receiving yards rank 11th among tight ends in NFL history, but he leads the position in yards per game (70.4) by nearly 10 full yards and has a higher per-game average than Randy Moss (70.1). Only 25 players in history with at least 16 games played have averaged more than 70 yards per game.
Gronkowski's 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame also made him a feared red-zone target. His 76 touchdowns rank fourth among all tight ends and 31st in league history. The only player with at least 16 games played to average more touchdowns per game than Gronkowski's .745 is Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (.806), who is still in the prime of his career. Moss is next at .716.
Gronk's 2011 season was the best ever for a tight end, setting records that still stand in yards (1,327) and touchdowns (17, tied for the fifth-most ever). He won a Super Bowl title in 2015 against the Seahawks and was on the team but injured for the 2017 title game against the Falcons.
In 2016, Gronkowski was named the fourth-best male athlete in Buffalo history, and the top football player. Pat Kane (hockey), Bob Lainer (basketball) and Warren Spahn (baseball) finished ahead of him.
Gronkowski's potential retirement adds yet another twist to watch in the Patriots' offseason. There is reportedly significant tension between coach Bill Belichick and legendary quarterback Tom Brady. Both offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia have been linked to other jobs. Losing Gronkowski would be another significant subtraction to the Patriots' dynasty.