Rob Gronkowski Doesn't Commit to 2018 Return After Patriots' Super Bowl LII LossFebruary 5, 2018
The New England Patriots' Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles may have been tight end Rob Gronkowski's final game.
Gronkowski, 28, was asked about his future after the 41-33 loss and would not commit to playing in the 2018 campaign, per Henry McKenna of USA Today:
If this was Gronkowski's last game, he went out in style with nine catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
The dynamic Patriots pass-catcher has already established himself as one of the best tight ends in NFL history even at a relatively young age. He is a five-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion and even won the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year.
He also showed few signs of slowing during the 2017 campaign with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. It was his fourth season with more than 1,000 receiving yards, and he also has five years with double-digit touchdown receptions on his resume.
However, Gronkowski has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. He played just eight games in 2016, 11 games in 2012 and seven games in 2013 and suffered a concussion in this year's AFC Championship Game victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Mike Reiss of ESPN.com detailed Gronkowski's injury history in December 2016, noting the tight end had nine reported surgeries since 2009—his final year at the University of Arizona. Four of those operations were on his forearm, while three were on his back.
If Gronkowski were to retire before the 2018 season, the Patriots would be without one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in football and could look to the upcoming draft or perhaps even free agency to try to replace his production.