Rob Gronkowski on Ending Retirement, Rejoining Patriots: 'I'm Not Going Back'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2019

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, celebrates his touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski, left, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Not even the great Tom Brady can convince former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement this season.

Michele Steele of ESPN noted Gronkowski was pressed about the topic on Fox NFL Sunday and said, "First off, I'm saying I love the guy," when asked what he would answer if Brady asked him to return for the playoffs. "No, I'm not going back."

Rich Eisen of NFL Network pointed out the five-time Pro Bowler would need to declare his intention to return by Saturday to be eligible for the playoff roster.

The topic of Gronkowski's potential return has been a talking point throughout the NFL season to the point he parodied the discussion on Tuesday when announcing he will host a Super Bowl party in South Florida:

Still, the 30-year-old didn't rule out an eventual return to the field when talking to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com:

"I wouldn't say 'never coming back.' I'm 30 years old. I'm young. I still stay fit, still watch the game whenever I can, still enjoy it. I'm feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man.

"It's always an option in the back of my head. It's not like I'm not staying in shape and not doing anything. I'm never stressed over it."

That he is not coming back this season is unfortunate news for a New England offense that could use a boost.

While the defending champions are 9-1, they struggled on the offensive side of the ball during last Sunday's 17-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles and have been carried by their defense for much of the campaign. Adding a four-time All-Pro selection and three-time champion to the offense would help open up the playbook and make the Patriots all the more dangerous come January.

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