New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski surprised many when he would not commit to returning for the 2018 season in the moments after the Super Bowl.
Gronkowski said he needed some time to reflect on the season and talk with people closest to him and that he wasn't ready to answer what it would take for him to return.
“Weeks before [the AFC Championship game], Gronkowski was telling people around him the toll on his body was making him lean toward the potential that this was his last season,” ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reported on SportsCenter last week, according to Boston.com. “This is a very serious thing for Gronkowski at this point. He will certainly continue to contemplate retirement. ...
“It’s not a done deal by any means, but this is not something that is simply an emotional approach to the loss of the Super Bowl, nor is it an emotional response to the concussion. This is something Gronkowski has been considering long before both of those instances in the 2017 season.”
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. Darlington cited a source who said Gronkowski “truly believes the toll on his body is making him question his NFL future.”
Darlington denied the retirement talk was a ploy to get more money. Gronkowski was the fourth highest-paid Patriots player last season, but was the league's highest-paid tight end. However, he is scheduled to make $8.9 million next season, based on a contract structured to help the team. His deal runs through 2020.
You can watch Darlington's full report here: