BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady is not thinking about retirement, and neither is tight end Rob Gronkowski.
While there has been a whole lot of chatter about the future of the New England Patriots this week, players are just trying to stay focused on their Week 17 matchup against the New York Jets. The Patriots can clinch a first-round bye with a victory, and that is all they care about at the moment. With a week off at stake, the Patriots are viewing their tilt against the four-win Jets as a playoff game.
So when asked about his plans for the future, on the heels of Tom Brady saying he’d be back in 2019 on Monday, Gronk said retirement is not on his mind right now.
“I haven’t been thinking about that at all. We’re on the last game, going into Week 17, we have the Jets and that’s all I’m worried about,” Gronkowski told reporters on Thursday,
Gronkowski may be having a down season, with just three touchdowns and 45 receptions to his name, but he said he’s still having plenty of fun on the football field. He loves being with his teammates, and sharing that special bond whenever they’re on the field together is what he enjoys most about his career.
“Having a good time and being out in practice, cracking jokes and making plays. Having that team bond, being with everyone, it’s always something special,” he said.
He did admit that there have been some highs and lows this season, both as a team and as an individual. But Gronkowski makes sure never to get too high or too low, and always remains upbeat.
“It’s a long season. … You have to keep it light and enjoy your time,” he said. “No matter how games go, up or down, you have to keep focused and keep it going, which we have been. We’ve been through a roller coaster all season, and you just have to keep focused and keep preparing.”
Gronkowski had no receptions — or even targets — in last Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills, and just two receptions on five targets the week before in Pittsburgh. While he certainly loves to find the end zone and deliver his signature monster spikes, Gronk is happy doing whatever the team needs to walk away with a victory.
“It’s all about the win and doing what you need to do to help the team. If it’s blocking, catching 10 balls that game, catching one ball that game — no matter what it is I’m going to go full speed,” he said. “Whatever coaches ask me to do I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. I feel like that’s how it is with everybody around here, and that’s why it’s great.”
As for matching Tom Brady’s longevity, Gronkowski isn’t so sure he can follow the footsteps of his 41-year-old quarterback.
“He’s on like year 20, and probably get to like 30 years,” Gronkowski joked. “I haven’t thought about that. We have this big game Sunday, and the playoffs after, so that’s the last thing that is on my mind right now.
“I love the grind and I’m all in; I’ve been all-in all season,” he continued. “No matter if it’s been up or down, I’m going to be all-in the rest of the year.”
Tune in to Patriots-Jets Sunday afternoon on WBZ-TV — the home of the New England Patriots. Coverage begins Friday night with Patriots All Access at 7 p.m., and kicks off Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m. with Patriots GameDay. After the Patriots and the Jets square off at 1 p.m., switch over to myTV38 for all the reaction and analysis from the game on Patriots 5th Quarter!