BOSTON (CBS) — The last image Patriots fans will have of Rob Gronkowski is the tight end hauling in a 29-reception up the left sideline in Super Bowl LIII to set up New England’s only touchdown of the victory, and the celebration that followed.
Or will it be?
Gronkowski announced his retirement on Sunday night, a move that reportedly surprised the Patriots. After a nine-year career of celebratory touchdown spikes, throwing people out of the club and annual trips to the surgeon, Gronk decided to call it a career. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told NBC Sports’ Peter King that Bill Belichick reached out to him last week to check in on Gronk, and on Sunday, the tight end finally made his decision.
But is that decision final? Rosenhaus appeared to leave the door open for a potential Gronkowski return sometime in 2019:
Rosenhaus said it wouldn’t shock him if Gronkowski decided to come back sometime in 2019. We’ll see. There’s nothing to indicate a return to football now. For now, there’s a void in New England, and in the NFL. A really fun player, a really good player, walked away with something left in the tank.
Rosenhaus echoed those thoughts Monday morning on ESPN:
“If the team was struggling or they needed him at some point next year, and let’s just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said, ‘Rob, I need you.’ I wouldn’t be shocked if he came back to play a few games,” Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Get Up.
Rosenhaus made it clear that this is not from any discussions he’s had with Gronkowski. But it’s in line with what former Patriot Willie McGinest had to say a few weeks ago. McGinest felt that Gronkowski would retire ahead of the season, allowing him to miss out on all the off-season activities and rigorous training camp, but would return sometime during the regular season. That would allow Gronk to be fresh and healthy for the stretch run (It’s important to note that like Gronkowski, McGinest has trained with Alex Guerrero in the past).
Whether this is what Gronkowski and Rosenhaus have in mind remains to be seen, but we’ll have a better idea in the coming months when Gronk’s post-football career becomes a little more clear. Rosenhaus doesn’t know what is next for his client, but Gronk won’t change much aside from not playing football.
“A lot of fun. A lot of rest. Good times. Relaxation. Partying. Being himself. Being Gronk,” Rosenhaus said of Gronkowski’s future. “Eventually we could see him doing TV, acting, a number of things. Appearances. Endorsements. He’s one of the biggest personalities. He won’t disappear.”
For now, it’s best to prepare for life after Gronkowski in New England. But at the same time, get ready to over-analyze every Tweet or social media post from the now former Patriots tight end over the next eight months.