Rob Gronkowski Says 'It's a No' on Ending Retirement, Returning to Patriots

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistOctober 15, 2019

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski warms up before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has no plans to end his retirement and return to the NFL.

After previously declining to give a firm answer about his future, the 30-year-old made his view on a potential comeback clear in an appearance on WEEI's The Greg Hill Show on Tuesday:

"Obviously when I retired I retired for a reason, because I needed to step away. So it would be a no. It would be a no. There it is. But I never say no because I said no and everyone was like 'yeah, he's kidding.' It's a no. In my mind that's how it is. It's a no. I say I keep it open because even when I do say no, people are like 'yeah right, he's kidding.' They always spin it. But in my mind it's a no. There you go."

Gronkowski initially mulled retirement during the 2018 offseason, but he decided to return for one more season. After helping New England win its third Super Bowl in his nine-year career, he decided to hang up his cleats in March.

The 6'6", 265-pound tight end dealt with a number of injuries during his football career, including a torn ACL, a broken forearm, a herniated disk in his back and multiple concussions. While announcing a partnership with CBDMedic in August, Gronk revealed he had been "hurt both mentally and physically" because of football.

While he said he was pain-free for the first time in a decade thanks to CBDMedic, he added he was not ruling out a return to football at some point:

The five-time Pro Bowler was recently hired as an NFL analyst by Fox. Even in that new role, he recently said that "I'll always keep the door open" to playing again someday.

Gronk made it clear on WEEI that the only way he would consider a comeback would be if he felt a "continuous itch."

At this point, he doesn't have that desire: "No. I'm very satisfied where I am at. I say it all the time, I would have never left the game if I was going to be itching every single day. I've said that before many times too. I had that thought, too, would I be missing it? I just knew that it needed to be done. I'm very satisfied where I am at."

New England quarterback Tom Brady recently told WEEI he wouldn't push his former teammate to end his retirement. Although the Patriots have not gotten Gronk-like production out of the tight end position this season, they are 6-0 this year while winning by an average of 23.7 points per game.

Ryan Izzo leads New England tight ends with six catches for 114 yards and one touchdown.

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