BOSTON (CBS) — Will Rob Gronkowski call it a career or will he continue to score touchdown for the New England Patriots? That’s what most Patriots fans are wondering this offseason, as we all patiently wait for Gronk to make a decision about his future.

While the discussion has centered around Gronk retiring or not retiring, a former Patriots player has an interesting prediction that takes a little bit from Column A and a little bit from Column B. Former Patriots linebacker and current NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest believes Gronkowski will start the season retired, but will “get the itch” to come back late in the year. McGinest hasn’t spoken to Gronkowski recently, so this is purely speculation on his part. But it is certainly interesting, and entirely possible.

“I think Gronk is going to take a break for a while. I don’t think he’s going to initially start off and come back. This is just my own assessment. Later on, deep in the season, he could come back,” McGinest said Tuesday night. “He’s going to let his body heal up and I think, mentally, he’s not football right now. He’s not ready to put on the pads and play football.”

Gronkowski said he’d make his decision in the weeks after New England’s Super Bowl LIII victory over the Los Angeles Rams, but we’re now over a month removed from the season ending and Gronk is still no closer to a decision. Even his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has no idea how his client is leaning.

McGinest said that he believes that Gronkowski still loves football and won’t begin his post-football career until he is truly finished playing. So even though he doesn’t think Gronk will go to training camp (more for health reasons than any commitment issues), McGinest doesn’t expect the All Pro to spend his free time making movies.

“He still loves football. But I think right now, after winning a Super Bowl and all the hard work he went through, I don’t think he starts the season playing football,” added Willie.

Gronkowski had a down year stat-wise in 2018, with just 47 receptions for 682 yards and three touchdowns over 14 regular season games. But he was a monster in the blocking game and came through with some key receptions in New England’s run to their sixth Super Bowl title, showing that he still has something left in the tank.

For now, the waiting game continues with Gronkowski. And if McGinest is correct, that game could go one for a lot longer than anyone anticipated.

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