After Super Bowl 52 came to a close and that chapter of the New England Patriots dynasty came to an end, drama manifested itself in the form of tight end, Rob Gronkowski.
Mere moments after the desperation attempt of a throw hurled by Tom Brady himself fell to the turf, handing the Philadelphia Eagles an improbable Super Bowl win, two stories were created.
- The city of Philadelphia was already up in flames and Eagles fans were ready to burn it down themselves.
- Rob Gronkowski hinted at a possible early ending to an already illustrious career.
When asked about the possibility of retiring after the Super Bowl loss, Gronk acted surprised that the question was being posed. But, although he didn’t say that he was retiring, he remained tepid in confirming that he will be back next season.
And without hesitation, the media ran with the story which then created a firestorm of rumors and questions. Is Rob Gronkowski calling it quits? Will he be joining the WWE? Will he become an actor in Hollywood?
For the moment it all seemed as though it were just simple speculation. Gronk is turing 29 this offseason. That’s way too young to retire, right?
Well for a guy who has had a multitude of back injuries and is coming off of a severe concussion suffered during the AFC Championship, logically, it doesn’t seem as though it would be a poor decision.
But since February 4th, the question seems to have been posed daily across the Boston sports radio landscape. And of course it seems like it’s simply just a good talking point, but is there any chance that this speculation comes to fruition?
Well, last night on NBC Sports Boston’s, Boston Sports Tonight, Patriots insider, Tom E. Curran, shed some light on the matter at hand.
Curran stated that the tight end “… didn’t have fun last year” and even touched on the fact that he even considered retiring during training camp.
Curran also had this to say when speaking with co-hosts, Kayce Smith and Michael Holley, “This started in training camp. He seriously considered stepping away from the game in training camp. He kind of had it. At that point, his body wasn’t responding. He wanted to train a certain way. The team didn’t necessarily want him to train the way he wanted to train.”
Although there is a handful of negative thought and feeling here, Curran did also cite that Gronk told him back in December that he’s “never had this much fun on the field”. He then goes on to say that Gronk mentioned the physical and mental strains of playing within the Patriots organization and the “atmosphere of New England”
Tom E. Curran is one reporter whose word I will always trust when it comes to the New England Patriots because I’ve gathered the sense that he is not only trusted, but also well liked within the confines of Gillette Stadium.
Are we to believe that Gronk is going to be stepping away? Personally, I would put money down that we will see the dominant force back on the field in Foxborough come OTAs. But do I believe that there is a pertinent thought in Gronkowski’s head that retirement may be the best option for his health and well-being? I absolutely do.
We have heard a number of rumors come to light over the past few weeks. We have seen stories written by ESPN about the negative atmosphere in New England which I believe for the most part. We have heard different variations on whether or not the players knew about the infamous benching of Malcolm Butler. The feeling coming out of Gillette stadium to me paints a picture of a stale philosophy put on by Coach Bill Belichick himself.
We know that if Rob Gronkowski closed his NFL playing door, another one would open with Vince McMahon standing directly in that doorway.
I can’t say for certain that Gronk will be returning next season. But I can say that I whole heartedly believe the notion that he’s contemplating stepping away. And I wouldn’t blame him for a second if he did.
-Nick Quaglia (@NickQuag)