“I’m not, like, really retired,” Gronkowski told ESPN’s Jenna Laine on July 20. “It’s just from the game of football. … It’s not from life. … When people start retiring, they start dying.”
Gronkowski, 33, said he planned to keep active by growing his off-field business ventures well into football retirement, which began upon a June 21 announcement. Laine spoke with him during a commercial shoot for USAA, a company, ironically, that provides retirement products.
“It definitely can be a scary route,” Gronkowski told Laine. “I mean, I’m not really scared about it — I’m prepared. I feel like there’s a lot of business opportunities. I know I want to step into the business world.”
Gronkowski also works with his family’s companies — Ice Shaker, run by his brother Chris, and G&G Fitness Equipment, run by his father, Gordie. It also helps the superstar tight end stay in shape, appearing in workout videos on social media.
“They took their work ethic from the football field and brought it to the next chapter of life, and that’s something you’ve got to do,” Gronkowski told Laine. “You can’t be laid back if you want to be successful in the next chapter of your life. You’ve gotta be all-in, and you’ve gotta grind.”
Gronkowski on Tom Brady Calling
Gronkowski told “Good Morning America” reporter Victor Oqeundo that he would take a call from longtime teammate and Bucs quarterback Tom Brady. However, Gronkowski reiterated that it wouldn’t result in another comeback.
“I would say, ‘What’s up,’ but, no, I wouldn’t go back to football. I’m all set,” Gronkowski told Oquendo on July 20. “Obviously I’ll answer. He’s the greatest of all time calling and we do have a great relationship on and off the field, we’re good friends.”
Brady famously coaxed Gronkowski out of retirement in 2020 to join the Bucs after sitting out the 2019 season. Gronkowski retired in 2019 after an injury-riddled tenure with the New England Patriots. As Laine noted, Gronkowski endured nine surgeries during his first nine NFL seasons.
Gronkowski stayed healthy in 2020, and he helped the Bucs win the 2021 Super Bowl. Back and rib Injuries caught up with Gronkowski again in 2021, as did a punctured lung. He finished with 100 receptions for 1,425 yards and 13 touchdowns in his two-year stint with the Bucs.
Gronkowski Goes Out Healthy?
ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported on July 13 that “Gronk isn’t healthy” during the “Keyshawn, JWill and Max” show, but Gronkowski told Laine that he does “feel really good”.
“It was my decision to stop. It was definitely time. It just felt right,” Gronkowski told Laine. “I feel good. I feel really good.”
Gronkowski also told Laine he’s satisfied with what he achieved. If he never plays in the NFL again, his career concludes with four Super Bowl rings, four All-Pro awards and five Pro Bowl appearances.
“Every time I stepped out on the football field, I literally left everything I had,” Gronkowski told Laine. “If it was at practice, or if it was at a game, and if I wasn’t feeling my best at the game or practice, I still gave everything that I had every single time. So it’s not like I’m looking back, you know, wishing, ‘Man, I should have done that. I should have done this.’ I mean, there’s things obviously you would change. I mean, but that’s learned. That’s how you learn in life. You change it for the next time.
“But I definitely feel accomplished. … I feel accomplished with my career, and, actually, it went way better than I ever thought it could have,” Gronkowski added.