Gronk likely will take some time to make a decision about his future

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In the days preceding Super Bowl LII, a palpable buzz emerged in Minneapolis that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski planned to retire. Asked by reporters after the game whether he would indeed call it quits, Gronk inadvertently legitimized the rumors by saying, “I don’t know how you heard about that.”

He intentionally legitimized the rumors by taking nearly three months to make a decision about 2018, informing the Patriots in the days preceding the draft that he would return for another year.

So what will happen this time around? Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, the current expectation is that Gronk will announce no decision in the aftermath of Sunday’s Super Bowl. According to the source, Gronk hasn’t given the issue much thought yet, and he likely will spend some time considering his options after the season officially ends.

Two factors are expected to influence his final decision: (1) whether Gronkowski emerges from Super Bowl LIII healthy; and (2) whether Brady makes good on his vow to return for 2019.

The best news for the Patriots is that Gronkowski is healthy entering the game. After not having Julian Edelman for Super Bowl LII and not having Gronk for Super Bowl LI, Brady will have both at his disposal, which serves only to enhance the likelihood that the Patriots will be, in roughly 12 hours, celebrating Super Bowl win No. 6.