Rob Gronkowski teased a comeback to the NFL throughout the 2022 season, and he won’t do that again.
The former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar tight end will stay retired permanently this time around. Gronkowski clarified that recently in an interview with TMZ Sports, less than a year after his official second retirement in June 2022.
“There’s no chance anymore. I’m happily retired,” Gronkowski told TMZ Sports.
Gronkowski then switched topics to another sports passion since he hung up his cleats.
“I actually picked up pickleball. I beat my brother, Chris, who plays with pros, and my other brother, Gord, who plays with pros, too,” Gronkowski said.
“And I beat them with an Average Joe, my other brother, Glenn G.,” Gronkowski added. “So I’m happily retired. I’m still competing. I’m still winning, so I don’t even need to go back to football.”
Gronkowski also nixed his previous “Dumb and Dumber” joke about there being “a chance” of a comeback.
“I’m not ‘Dumb and Dumber’ anymore … because now I am the dumbest,” Gronkowski joked.
Gronkowski, a 2010 second-round draft pick of the Patriots, became one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history. He helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls followed by another win with the Bucs. He tallied 621 receptions for 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns in his career amid four All-Pro honors and five Pro Bowl appearances.
Tom Brady’s Retirement Could Impact Gronkowski’s Decision
Gronkowski’s longtime teammate and friend, Tom Brady, notably retired “for good” after the 2022 season with the Bucs, and Gronkowski hinted at interest in a comeback before the superstar quarterback called it a career. Brady threw the Gronkowski for nine years in New England before they joined forces in Tampa in 2020.
Gronkowski came as close as talking with the Bucs about a comeback in November 2022, but he decided to stay retired. The Bucs stumbled to 8-9 and got blown out in the Wild Card game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Brady notably played both his final season with the Bucs and Patriots without Gronkowski — both resulting in Wild Card game losses. Gronkowski previously retired due to injuries before the 2019 season, Brady’s last with the Patriots.
Injuries Curtailed Rob Gronkowski’s Career
While Gronkowski came out of retirement in 2020 and stayed healthy, injuries hit him again in 2021 with five games missed.
Brady retired and then unretired, but Gronkowski’s status remained in doubt. After Gronkowski announced his second retirement, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, maintained that a second comeback could happen. It didn’t happen, and Gronkowski told TMZ Sports in January that he didn’t have “that itch” to get back to the game.
Gronkowski took a beating in his 11 seasons amid numerous injuries, and he already had an injury history in college at Arizona. He sustained a back injury in 2009, which kept him out for the season and lowered his draft stock.
Injuries crept up for Gronkowski with the Patriots as early as the 2011 season when he sustained a high ankle sprain during the AFC Championship Game. He missed five games in 2012 due to a forearm fracture, and he missed significant time in 2013 due to a back vertebral fracture and ACL tear. Back injuries sidelined him again in 2016 and 2018.