Rob Gronkowski Rumors: Patriots 'Tentatively Planning' for TE's Return in 2019

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2019

New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski (87) runs against Los Angeles Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has yet to make a decision about his playing future, but the team reportedly believes he will be back in 2019 instead of opting for retirement.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network provided the latest details on the situation Wednesday:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

In discussing the TE market, I passed my along what I know on #Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski: His agent says he has not made a firm decision, but the team is tentatively planning as if he'll be there in 2019 and some people close to him believe he wants to play. https://t.co/YRyC36Xaoi

"When you talk to people close to him, they think there's a better chance that he comes back again than he doesn't," Rapoport said.

The 29-year-old won his third Super Bowl with the Patriots this season, but he remains undecided about whether he will come back for another year. Even Gronkowski's agent apparently doesn't know which way he's leaning.

"I talked to Rob last night, and he won't even tell me," Drew Rosenhaus said Monday on NFL Live, via Field Yates of ESPN. "He hasn't made a decision yet... I honestly don't know. I'm waiting to see like everybody else."  

Last year, Gronkowski took until April to officially announce his return to the team after contemplating retirement, and that was after he was a first-team All-Pro in 2017. 

In 2018, he dealt with back and Achilles injuries and struggled when he was on the field. He finished with 47 catches for 682 receiving yards and only three touchdowns in 13 games.

His 52.5 yards per game were his fewest since his rookie season in 2010.

While Gronkowski is a likely Hall of Famer, injuries continue to plague him. He missed 13 regular-season games over the past three seasons and hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2011.

Gronkowski can still destroy defenses, as evidenced by the 87 yards he racked up on six catches in the Super Bowl LIII win over the Los Angeles Rams. That will keep the Patriots hoping he remains with them for as long as possible.