New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski started the guessing game right after the Super Bowl a month ago when he was asked if he was considering retiring.
“I don’t know how you heard about that,’’ he said, which is not exactly a denial.
Gronkowski added he would definitely look at his future in the next couple of weeks and “see where I’m at.’’
Since then he’s only had three cryptic tweets about his future.
“There are NO limits,’’ was one.
The second one was, “Forsee your own future, control your own temptations, and your destiny will not be just reached, it will be just starting.’’
And when Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the expectations are now that Gronkowski will return and that Rapoport hasn’t talked to one person who doesn’t think Gronk will be back, Gronkowski tweeted one word, “Clueless.’’ Presumably that was in response to Rapoport’s report, but he didn’t specify that.
Rapoport had a follow-up report that Gronkowski enjoys keeping everyone guessing. That is probably true.
Even his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told the Boston Herald at the scouting combine that he wasn’t commenting on Gronkowski’s future.
“That’s personal,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston has reported that Gronkowski almost quit in training camp last year and isn’t particularly happy with The Patriot Way.
I happen to think it would be in Gronkowski’s best interests to retire in his prime. He’s already had multiple surgeries and suffered a severe concussion on a hit by Barry Church in the Jacksonville playoff game. It took him more than a week to be cleared for the Super Bowl.
Once a player suffers a concussion like that, he is more susceptible to more of them. Why should he risk that, especially if he’s apparently not enjoying playing that much?
And it is easy to imagine that Gronkowski’s happy-go-lucky ways aren’t a good fit with coach Bill Belichick’s grinding style.
Still, it is easy to talk about retirement right after the end of the season. With a few months to recharge his batteries, Gronkowski may look at it differently.
Only one thing is certain. His decision will not only affect the Patriots, but the AFC playoff chase.
The Patriots are trying to become the first team since the 1972 perfect Miami Dolphins to win the Super Bowl the year after losing it.
It will be easier to pull that off with Gronkowski than without him.
If the Patriots don’t have him, the AFC race would look more wide open.
And the Patriots would obviously like to know sooner rather than later, especially before the college draft. If he’s not coming back, finding a tight end becomes more of a priority.
Whatever decision he makes, it will be interesting to see how he announces it. Since he is under contract for two more years, he really doesn’t have to say anything if he decides to play. He only has to show up.
Meanwhile, the guessing game continues.