BOSTON (CBS) — In the hours leading up to the Patriots’ AFC divisional round victory over the Los Angels Chargers, there was a report that Rob Gronkowski may retire when New England’s season comes to an end. The tight end has not been his usual self this season, and he had just one reception against the Chargers on Sunday, further fueling that speculation.
But Gronkowski giggled off any retirement talk after the victory, saying his attention is only on the road ahead for the Patriots, one he hopes leads to another trip to the Super Bowl.
“I was focusing on L.A. the whole game and it will be the same thing this week. I’m all in right now. We have the Kansas City Chiefs right now and it’ll be another week of preparation and I haven’t thought of anything like that,” Gronkowski said following New England’s 41-28 drubbing of the Chargers. “We just have to keep our focus on what we have to do and what I have to keep on doing to help this team each week.
“I’m going to enjoy the win. That’s what we do; you get one night to enjoy the win around here,” Gronkowski said when further pressed about the retirement chatter. “You do, you get one night. And then when you wake up tomorrow morning, then it’s on to Kansas City. We get a couple of hours, so I’ll do that and then I’ll be thinking about next week.”
Though he had just that one reception against L.A., Gronkowski was a major factor in New England’s ground attack. Patriots running backs combined for 155 rushing yards and four touchdowns on Sunday, with rookie Sony Michel leading the way with 129 yards and three scores. The New England offensive line had a spectacular day, and Gronkowski was a big part of that, as he has been throughout the season.
“He’s a great blocker,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said after the win. “I think that’s something that goes maybe a little under the radar with his skill set, but he’s one of the most dominant blocking tight ends in the league.”
Gronkowski may not be the dominant force he once was in the passing game, but he’s still a pretty big part of the New England offense. It won’t shock anyone if he does indeed retire after the season, given the beating his body has endured (and subsequent injuries) throughout his career. But Gronkowski and the Patriots hope this run doesn’t end any time soon, and he hopes to hold off any retirement chatter for at least another three weeks.