BOSTON (CBS) — Rob Gronkowski started his post-football career as a TV analyst on Thursday night, but Patriots owner Robert Kraft is holding out hope that we’ll see Gronk in a Pats uniform again.

Ahead of Thursday night’s Patriots-Giants clash at Gillette Stadium, Kraft had some interesting comments during an appearance on NFL Network. The owner is still holding out hope that Gronkowski will return to the Patriots.

“We all love Gronk, and I think the bottom line is he hasn’t put his retirement papers in. So we can pray and hope,” Kraft said. “I think that’s a good academic argument that there is hope with Gronk.”

Gronkowski announced his retirement over the offseason, but as Kraft noted, he never put in his retirement papers. Players don’t always rush to file that paperwork, and it really should be no surprise that Gronk hasn’t done so. The Patriots did place Gronkowski on the NFL’s reserve/retired list on March 26.

But the fact that the Patriots owner is bringing up a Gronkowski comeback is kind of a big deal.

The Patriots are 5-0 on the season, but their offense has struggled a bit out of the gate. They haven’t gotten much out of their tight ends, with Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo combining for just seven receptions and one touchdown. Earlier this week, the Patriots released veteran tight end Ben Watson after he served his four-game suspension to start the season. Perhaps a phone call from Tom Brady would be enough to convince Gronkowski to return to the playing field?

Gronkowski seems happy in his post-football life, and made his debut as an analyst for Fox Sports ahead of Thursday night’s game. Asked if he would consider a comeback, Gronkowski did not shoot it down.

“I would have to be feeling it. Feeling it big time to come back,” he said on Fox. “It’s always going to be open in my mind. … I’ll always keep it open”

Let the speculation begin again.


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