Is Rob Gronkowski really going to stay retired all season?
The former New England Patriots tight end appeared at the team’s banner ceremony on Sunday night, spiking a football, chest-bumping with Martellus Bennett, and even playing catch with Drew Bledsoe.
But in a video posted to Twitter on Monday, Gronk said he would be making a comeback in Week 14. The video, likely made in jest, was an exchange between Gronkowski and Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy.
Gronk has spoken openly about his retirement and a possible return to football in recent weeks, saying he is physically fine to play football but he must be there mentally if he is to make a comeback at all.
The Patriots are unusually thin at tight end with Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo listed as the teams two lone tight ends and Ben Watson currently suspended. LaCosse did not play against the Steelers despite being active and Ryan Izzo played just over half the team’s offensive snaps, serving as an extra blocker on passing plays primarily.
Gronkowski, who was known for his big plays was one of the league’s most proficient blocking tight ends in history, something New England will miss most this season.
How Would Gronk Fit Into Patriots Offense?
Gronkowski was frequently double-teamed when running routes throughout his entire NFL career. But regardless of who was defending him, Gronk continuously found ways to make big plays when needed.
In the current Patriots offense, Gronk would be borderline unstoppable given the arsenal of receiving targets on the team. Josh Gordon, Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, and Demaryius Thomas are all dynamic in their own way and are among the toughest receivers to cover one-on-one.
Gordon has especially been tough to cover and frequently makes catches in double and even triple coverage. But with Gronk in toe, covered by either a linebacker or a strong safety over the middle, he would be among the top receiving tight ends in the league once again.
Gronk has lost a bit of weight since he last played in February, but showed in pictures taken on Sunday night he was still in top physical shape. He has even admitted that he would need about a month to get everything back on track for a return to football if he were to comeback.
Don’t Get Your Hopes Up
The video where Gronk claims he is gearing up for a return was likely a joke. He is extremely friendly with Barstool president and native Bostonian Dave Portnoy and the two have made videos joking around together.
But Gronk’s comeback, if it were to happen, would most likely not be this season. It could be a similar situation to what we saw with Jason Witten, stepping away for a year before making a comeback to football with time to get physically ready to play and fully recover from prior nagging injuries suffered playing football.