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On Wednesday, NFL Network reported that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to play football next season.
If accurate, that’s significant news in the wake of Gronkowski hinting at retirement after the Super Bowl and reports that he’s been unhappy in New England.
Shortly after the NFL Network report, Gronkowski posted this on Twitter.
Ummm. OK, Gronk. That’s vague. And interesting. And probably super stressful for Patriots fans.
We won’t begin to try and decipher here what’s going on in Gronkowski’s head in regard to this tweet. Or otherwise, for that matter.
But the report about his expected return was far from firm with Ian Rapoport saying “I have not talked to one person who believes Rob Gronkowski will retire.” Rapoport also said that neither the Patriots nor Gronkowski’s agent Drew Rosenhaus shed any light on Gronkowski’s plans.
Gronkowski’s tweet on Wednesday is not the first cryptic message he’s posted this offseason presumably regarding his career plans.
He tweeted this, raising speculation that he’s eyeing a move to the wrestling ring.
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) February 27, 2018
And this bit of philosophical wisdom.
Forseee your own future, control your own temptations, and your destiny will be not just be reached, it will just be starting.
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) February 24, 2018
Again, we’re not going to try and guess what that means.
What we do know is that Gronkowski has had a career filled with physical pain. He has had multiple back surgeries dating back to his college career at Arizona.
He twice suffered a broken forearm in 2012 that eventually required surgery and got infected, leading to two more operations. The second break happened when Gronkowski returned to play in a playoff game.
He suffered an ACL tear in his right knee that knocked him out of the Patriots’ playoff run in 2013. He has also suffered numerous sprains, tears and concussions.
On top of Gronkowski’s own words after the Super Bowl and well-documented injury history, NBC Boston has reported that he has been unhappy in New England since training camp and has been considering leaving the game as a result.
In short, no one could objectively blame Gronkowski for putting his pain in the past as much as possible and taking his millions into retirement.
And it’s something he’s in great shape to do if he chooses, with ESPN and NFL Network reporting that Gronkowski has been living off of endorsement money and hasn’t touched the more than $44 million he’s earned in salary.
The bottom line is that nobody appears to have a firm bead on Gronkowki’s intentions. Quite possibly, he still doesn’t. But he does seem to be thoroughly enjoying keeping fans and media on pins and needles with his Twitter account in the meantime.
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