Rob Gronkowski Rumors: 40% Chance Ex-Patriots TE Comes Out of Retirement in 2019

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2019

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) warms up before Monday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills, October 29, 2018, in Orchard Park, NY. (AP Photo/Chris Cecere)
Chris Cecere/Associated Press

While Rob Gronkowski retired following the 2018 season, the door reportedly isn't closed on the former New England Patriots tight end making a return this season.

According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, a source close to Gronk said there is a 40 percent chance that the five-time Pro Bowler will end his retirement and return to the Pats.

Florio added that the deciding factor could be whether Patriots quarterback Tom Brady appeals to Gronkowski to come back, given New England's dire tight end situation.

There has been speculation regarding a potential return ever since the New York native announced his retirement in March just before his 30th birthday, and it has intensified as of late with training camp approaching.

Last week, Gronkowski confirmed to TMZ Sports that he worked out with Brady at UCLA while he was in town for a charity event:

Mark Daniels @MarkDanielsPJ

It certainly looks like Tom Brady and Gronk were working out at UCLA. https://t.co/AnnQlHgMwt

Injuries have hampered Gronkowski in recent years and cost him at least two games in each of the past three seasons, including eight in 2016.

The 6'6", 268-pounder managed to appear in 13 games last season, but his production was down. The four-time first-team All-Pro finished with just 47 receptions for 682 yards and three touchdowns, marking his worst production since his rookie year when taking into account only seasons in which he appeared in 11 or more games.

The 2014 second-round pick out of Arizona made 13 catches for 191 yards during the Pats' Super Bowl-winning run, but he didn't score a touchdown during the playoffs after scoring three in each of his previous three postseasons.

Even though Gronkowski may no longer be the same player who recorded over 1,000 receiving yards in three of four seasons, he is still a big step up from what New England currently has at tight end.

Following the release of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, 38-year-old Ben Watson was penciled in as the Pats' No. 1 tight end. He is suspended for the first four games of the regular season, though, meaning the unproven Matt LaCosse and Stephen Anderson are in line for significant playing time when the 2019 season begins.

The Patriots have little in terms of proven pass-catchers outside of wide receiver Julian Edelman and running back James White, so there will undoubtedly be increased pressure on Gronk to return as the season draws closer.

On the latest edition of The Lefkoe ShowArizona Cardinals OL Justin Pugh shares stories about Kyler Murray, discusses the Madden NFL 20 ratings and declares himself as the best beer-chugger in the NFL.


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