Rob Gronkowski is not ruling out a return to the NFL.
Despite the fact that he hasn’t suited up this season and that he retired from the NFL this year, the 30-year-old tight end’s name remains in headlines. Most New England Patriots fans are still holding out hope for a return from their All-Pro tight end, who walked away from the game in large part due to the physical toll his body took during his nine-year playing career.
With all of that said, Gronkowski kept hope alive that he could make his return under one condition — that the NFL legalizes the use of CBD products.
Gronkowski has become a spokesperson and big advocate of CBD Medic — which is a sports solid stick that aids in pain relief for athletes. The former tight end has gone on record as saying that these products have helped him heal up from a lot of the injuries and wear-and-tear that he suffered during his playing career.
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Gronkowski: I Don’t Want to Be Banned For CBD Use
He said that a big reason why he doesn’t return is that he doesn’t want to be banned while using CBD products.
“I don’t want to be banned from playing the sport I love because I’m using a product that anyone can buy right off the shelf at their local pharmacy,” Gronkowski said at a news conference Friday while promoting a partnership between CBD Medic — for whom he is a spokesperson — and Gillette Stadium. “I’m not really sure why it’s banned.”
Gronkowski also made a statement that will make Patriots fans jump with joy — he wants the option to return to the game.
“I also want to have the option to get back into the game, and if I’m banned next year I can’t,” Gronkowski said.
In other words, Gronkowski is putting some pressure on the NFL to alleviate its stance regarding CBD products.
Florio: Rob Gronkowski Could Use CBD During Season
With that said, NBC Sports’ Mike Florio actually explains the NFL’s drug-testing policies and how they enforce CBD-related rules. Gronkowski would actually be free to use CBD products from the time training camp starts until the postseason.
He would just have to be CBD-free during the testing period during the annual offseason test.
Here are two important realities to consider regarding Gronkowski’s remarks. First, he has partnered with a CBD company. He’s getting paid by that CBD company to advocate for its use.
Second, and more importantly, the NFL’s current rules make it easy to use CBD during football season. If the player is clean during the offseason substance-abuse policy testing window that runs from late April to early August, the player can use CBD at will during training camp, the preseason, the regular season, and the postseason.
That reality makes Gronkowski’s not-so-subtle quid pro quo (there’s that phrase again) meaningless. If he really wants to return in 2020, he can use CBD during football season as long as he doesn’t test positive during his annual offseason test.
It’s not exactly known if Gronkowski is aware of that loophole in the NFL’s testing procedures, but one thing is for certain — the former Patriots tight end sure doesn’t sound fully retired by keeping his options open.