Gronkowski says no to coming out of retirement

Rob Gronkowski appeared in a Patriots shirt for a Super Bowl ceremony before the game between New England Patriots and Pittsburgh in September (AFP Photo/Maddie Meyer)
Rob Gronkowski appeared in a Patriots shirt for a Super Bowl ceremony before the game between New England Patriots and Pittsburgh in September (AFP Photo/Maddie Meyer)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski says he is enjoying his time away from the sport and has no plans to come out of retirement.

"When I retired, I retired for a reason: Because I needed to step away," Gronkowski said when asked Tuesday by a caller on a Boston radio station.

"I never say no, because I've said no, and everyone's like, 'Yeah, he's kidding. He's coming back,'" Gronkowski, who is 30, added. "But it's a no. In my mind, that's how it is. It's a no."

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There had been speculation, fuelled by Gronkowski himself, that the Patriots all-time touchdown catch leader, might be thinking of a return.

Team owner Robert Kraft said last week that the team can "pray and hope" Gronkowski comes back.

The same day, Gronkowski said publicly that he would "always keep the door open" to a return.

Quarterback Tom Brady said Monday he wasn't going to try to persuade Gronkowski to come out of retirement.

When he retired, Gronkowski, a tight end, said that he had suffered about 20 concussions over his gridiron career.

Gronkowski said he is content being on the sidelines.

"I'm very satisfied where I'm at," he said. "I say it all the time: I would have never left the game if I was going to be itching every single day. I've said that before, many times. I had those thoughts, too. 'Would I be missing it?' And I just knew that it needed to be done. I'm very satisfied where I'm at."

Gronkowski, who played for New England from 2010-18 and was on three Super Bowl winning teams, caught 79 career touchdown passes, the most all-time by a Patriots player.

His 7,861 receiving yards are second all-time for the Patriots behind Stanley Morgan (10,352).

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