Rob Gronkowski may be “retired,” but it’s not official.
As New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft revealed prior to the start of the Patriots’ Week 6 matchup against the New York Giants on Thursday night, the 30-year-old tight end may not currently be playing, but he never officially filed his retirement papers with the NFL.
Although the Patriots are doing just fine without Gronk — they moved to 6-0 after their 35-14 thrashing of the Giants — New England is desperately lacking in the receiving department at the tight end position.
Through the first six games, Patriots tight ends Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo have combined for a total of nine receptions, 169 yards and a touchdown. Making matters even worse is that LaCosse actually entered the game against the Giants with an ankle injury and exited the game with a brand new knee injury.
Furthermore, Patriots No. 1 receiver Josh Gordon suffered a knee injury while attempting to make a tackle right before halftime during an interception return. As the Associated Press described the injury, Gordon landed on his back with his left leg bent under him.
“Gordon was trying to bring down Markus Golden just before the end zone after the Giants linebacker intercepted Tom Brady at the Patriots 42-yard line. Golden stretched with the ball to cross the goal line, and Gordon landed on his back with is left leg bent under him.
He was checked out in the medical tent but did not return on New England’s next possession, its last before halftime.”
In other words, the Patriots are dealing with a myriad of injuries at wide receiver and tight end and would benefit off of the return of Gronkowski.
Would Gronkowski Make His Return This Season?
The former All-Pro tight end walked away from the game after the conclusion of the 2018 season due to a number of injuries he suffered during his playing career. In fact, he had thought about retiring following the conclusion of the 2017 season, only to return for one last go.
The 6-foot-6 tight end currently has a cushy job with Fox Sports as an NFL analyst and he was seen during the pregame and halftime show of the Patriots’ Thursday night game in his new gig.
Furthermore, Gronkowski had recently come clean regarding the toll that all of the concussions took on his physical and well-being during his nine-year playing career in the NFL. In fact, he stated that he had suffered about 20 concussions during his career, via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports.
“I truly believe that any injury you receive is fixable. I went through it. I had nine surgeries, probably had like 20 concussions in my life, no lie. I remember like five blackout ones.”
Rob Gronkowski Has Teased Week 14 Return
While Gronkowski clearly couldn’t handle the grind of a 16-game regular season and postseason stretch any longer, he could always return late in the season for a four-game regular season and postseason run.
In fact, he actually teased a Week 14 return against the Kansas City Chiefs just a month ago.
Considering the Patriots’ injuries and Kraft’s open cry for Gronk’s return, why wouldn’t the veteran tight end return for a shortened season?
Never say never.