By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Coming off the painful Super Bowl loss to the Eagles in February of 2018, speculation and rumors almost immediately surfaced regarding the future of All-Pro Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. From discussions of an acting career to speculation that he’d become a pro wrestler, the football world — and the Patriots organization — seemed to be waiting with baited breath to learn if the future Hall of Famer would be returning to the field for the 2018 season.

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As we know now, he did return, and while his statistics would indicate that he was very much human in that 2018 season, Gronkowski was nevertheless an immense factor in helping the Patriots win their sixth Super Bowl in franchise history.

We also know that Gronkowski has since gone through with that retirement from football. And unlike a year ago, there’s not much talk about his acting or wrestling or really any other activity for Gronkowski. And that’s by design.

Gronkowski was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show this week, and said that after spending the last decade with a full calendar 12 months of the year, he’s trying to wipe that datebook clean for the immediate future.

“You know, I’ve done a couple of things in my life, like the ‘Entourage’ movie and a couple of other things, some TV shows,” Gronkowski said when asked about his acting plans. “I’m actually scaling back right now from everything. I’m just gonna relax. I just went 10 years on the field, off the field of just straight go, go, go. So I’m 30 years old now, I feel like relaxing, gaining control of my life, gaining control of everything that needs to be controlled again from my aspect and just feel good again. So whatever comes my way down the future, and whatever’s right is gonna be right. But right now, just relaxing and chilling, it feels good, man. No lie, it feels good.”

While football fans in New England remain hopeful that Gronkowski may feel a sudden change of heart this fall, a photo from the premiere of Julian Edelman’s documentary premiere has poured some cold water on that dream. The photo appears to show Gronkowski sporting some scrawny arms, an indication that his weight-lifting regimen isn’t quite as rigorous as it used to be.

On that particular note, Gronkowski insists that it was just a bad angle.

“Yeah, that picture, I know. Everyone’s sending it to me, they’re like, ‘Yo, you look like you’re like 200 pounds.’ I don’t know. It must have been the angle or the shirt that was on me, because I ain’t that skinny that the picture that’s going around looks like,” Gronkowski said, noting that he weighs 250 pounds right now. “But I have definitely lost some weight. And I’ve been 260 since I was 18 years old, from 260 to 270. So I just always wanted to see what it feels like just to get down, just to feel light and feel loose and just feel clear and feel good, man.”

Gronkowski noted that he’s been grinding away in the weight room and on the football field for the last 14 years, going back to his high school days. The concept of having a summer to himself is something he’s warming to rather quickly.

“Life’s good. I scaled back big time, just put a good, solid 14 years in a row — including college, high school — of just football, football. The grind, the pounding. So, man, I’m just taking some time off, just relaxing,” Gronkowski said. “Just been relaxing, traveling, seeing the family, and just enjoying myself. You want to know something? I’ve never had an August off in my life. So it’s going to be a little different. That’s when it’s gonna start really seem to change is when that comes around in August, when I’m not in training camp. I might not know what to do with myself in August. Feels good. Just on a [regimen]. Just living a healthy lifestyle, and it feels good, man.”

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Gronkowski went into some more detail about whether he’ll miss playing once Tom Brady and the rest of his former teammates run out onto the field in September.

“Oh man, there’s definitely going to be times when you miss it and everything, but I would also say that it’s still the offseason right now. I can’t really say how I’m going to feel about it when the games start rolling around and everything. But, you know, I just felt like it was time. I feel really good right now. It just definitely is something that I thought it was the right timing and the right thing to do,” Gronkowski shared. “The weight-wise and everything, it feels good just to have that load off your back. I mean, I’ve been playing football for 15 straight years in a row of that grind. So just relaxing right now, it feels good, man.”

At this point of the summer, Gronkowski doesn’t sound like someone who’s itching to get back onto a football field. He actually doesn’t sound like someone who’s itching to do much of anything, aside from taking care of himself and aligning his priorities at the age of 30. Football has led him to move to a different state for his senior year of high school, and it led him to three years at the University of Arizona, where he suffered a back injury that required surgery. He was then drafted by the Patriots, arguably the most demanding team in the country’s most demanding professional sports league. There, he built a Hall of Fame resume while also overcoming a series of injuries to his back, knee, arm, and ankle, in addition to the regular pulls and tweaks that an NFL player experienced on a daily or weekly basis. His final NFL season clearly included some additional physical difficulty for Gronkowski, but he capped off that season by making a 15-yard catch on a third-and-10 in overtime of the AFC title game to help set up the winning score …

(GIF from NFL.com/GamePass)

… in a game where he had previously made an outstanding catch to pick up 25 yards on a gotta-have-it third down in the final minute of the fourth quarter, when the Patriots were trailing:

(GIF from NFL.com/GamePass)

That was all before he made a diving catch near the goal line to set up the winning touchdown of the Super Bowl.

(GIF from NFL.com/GamePass)

Long story short, the man has been working very hard for a very long time. And at this point, while the rest of the world speculates on his future, Gronkowski’s made it pretty clear that his life right now only involves the enjoyment of the present.

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You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.