Report: Rob Gronkowski Expected to Return to Patriots Despite Retirement Rumors

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2018

El jugador de los Patriots de Nueva Inglaterra Rob Gronkowski sale del terreno tras el Super Bowl 52 de la NFKL contra los Eagles de Filadelfia el domingo, 4 de febrero del 2018, en Minneapolis, Minnesota. (AP Foto/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Rob Gronkowski made headlines when he did not commit to playing in 2018 following his team's Super Bowl LII loss earlier this month, but it appears retirement will have to wait.

On Wednesday, Ian Rapoport reported the New England Patriots tight end is expected to play in the NFL next season:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The expectation is that #Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski will return for 2018 after pondering his future, I’m told. He may never make a grand announcement, but the belief is entertainment opportunities (acting WWE) will wait. https://t.co/WwbLZS4zfy

Gronkowski tweeted "#clueless", although it's unclear what he was referring to: 

Rob Gronkowski @RobGronkowski

#clueless 🤷‍♂️

Gronkowski still has two years and $17 million remaining on his contract, but his injury history had him thinking about life after football. The 28-year-old Patriots star has dealt with a variety of injuries, from ACL and MCL tears to back surgery to concussions. His injuries have limited him to 22 games the past two seasons.

For someone as energetic and fun-loving as Gronk, there would be plenty of opportunities available in his post-football days. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t NBC Sports Boston) reported Feb. 16 that the WWE was looking to sign the 6'6", 265-pound tight end. As Rapoport noted, Gronk has also been linked to pursuing a career in Hollywood.

Had Gronkowski stepped away from the game, New England would have faced a challenge to replace his incredible playmaking skills. However, given that he has missed quite a few games due to injuries, the team has shown it has no problem winning games without him. The Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history last year without the five-time Pro Bowler.

Gronkowski's size, hands and ability to get open have made him one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. His presence on the field is enough to draw the opposing defense's attention, especially in the red zone.

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While it appears Gronkowski will be in the huddle in 2018, the Patriots have been put on alert that he may call it quits at any time. That should spur them to explore all options when it comes to long-term plans for the tight end position. For now, Gronk appears ready to try to help his team bounce back from a disappointing end to last season and chase his third ring.


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