PFT 2019 storyline No. 9: Will Gronk come back?

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Most of the articles listing the top 30 storylines for 2019 consist of analysis. This one actually has some news.

The question of whether retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been discussed in many settings and contexts, and the video attached to this item paints the boundaries of the bigger picture.

When football season starts, Gronk may feel differently about his decision to walk away. But will he actually come back?

A source close to Gronkowski pegs his potential for a first annual unretirement at 40 percent.

For now, Gronk isn’t thinking about football. He’s enjoying his life, he doesn’t need the money, and he’s having a blast. The question becomes whether Gronkowski misses his teammates and/or the games after August becomes September. While he won’t miss dealing with training camp and the preseason, he could miss the game once they start playing games that count.

And here’s a factor that needs to be considered: If quarterback Tom Brady makes a direct appeal to Gronk, that could be the difference maker.

So what about the notion that Gronkowski has withered away to a shell of his former self? He has said that he’s lost only 18 pounds (I found half of that last week at the beach), and the attached photo of Gronk from last Thursday shows that he’s still got an impressive physique.

It’s also believed that coach Bill Belichick, who has declined to discuss the hypothetical possibility that Gronkowski will return, will not be an impediment to an unretirement. Although Belichick easily could take the position that he doesn’t want to create a precedent that encourages veterans to retire through the parts of the calendar that they don’t like and then return for the good stuff, Belichick has been very supportive of Gronkowski, we’re told. Also, a general softening of Belichick has been noticed, with a different side emerging and an approach that is more player-friendly.

The fact that Gronkowski could help the Patriots get a record-setting seventh Lombardi Trophy makes the question of whether he’ll come back even more significant. Still, for now, Gronkowski is retired.

Just like Brett Favre was at this time in 2008. And 2009. And 2010.

62 responses to “PFT 2019 storyline No. 9: Will Gronk come back?

  1. If he does come back, he is going to struggle with some of his blocking responsibilities. He did a lot more blocking last year and did a pretty good job of it. I’d expect him to suffer in both the run and pass blocking game if he has lost 20 lbs.

  2. He will start to think about his “legacy” and want to return and build upon his numbers.

  3. No, he wont. The guy doesn’t have enough functional brain cells left. He’s 30 years old, and act’s like he’s 20, turning 21. Don’t get me wrong, he’s talented, and a great QB to get him the ball. But the show is over. Time to move on.

  4. brwmstr says:
    July 16, 2019 at 9:36 am
    He will start to think about his “legacy” and want to return and build upon his numbers.

    ————–

    I honestly don’t think he cares that much about legacy. I think he really likes to play football, but wants to have fun and not be in pain all the time.

  5. The guy looks like he lost a bunch of weight after he stopped taking NFL vitamins.

    Hard to see him putting on 30 pounds of muscle to get to 260ish on short notice.

  6. He probably doesn’t care about his legacy because fans and the media have been overrating his legacy for a long time now. They gets injured walking onto the field. Glasskowski is more appropriate.

  7. If Pats lost Watson in August and LaCosse in October (or vice-versa), but otherwise looked headed for a playoff berth if more help was brought in, I see some chance of Gronk being asked to try and get fit by December as a depth/role guy to help stiffen the TE position. But it’s unlikely given all of Patriots’ other weapons. A nostalgic 2020-21 reunion with Brady? Possible I guess but too far off right now for both guys.

  8. Some of us remember that every year for 5-6 years after Barry Sanders retired, there were stories about him coming back. Like Sanders, Gronk knows theres a good life beyond football without all the pain.

  9. As a Pats fan I don’t see him coming back with all the weight he’s dropped. I think he’ll definitely miss the game but I think he is enjoying his retirement. Only thing that might bring him back is a direct appeal by Brady if they look like they could make another run.

  10. Pats fan here, and I don’t see it happening this year. And if it doesn’t happen this year, it’s really unlikely to happen in any other year.

    If he was into the idea of returning, he’d be at the very least *maintaining* his football bulk. But as the media has mercilessly documented, he’s slimming down in a noticeable way. He’s not going to inject himself into the scrum of November football after losing 30 pounds. He was injury prone at max weight — he’d get quickly destroyed if he was 30 pounds lighter.

    He’s having fun and enjoying the spoils of being the most dominant TE in league history. Good for him. See you in the owner’s box, Robbie G.

  11. A couple of weeks ago, Brady flew from Boston to L.A. to play catch with Gronkowski. I thought at the time, hmmm, 3,000 miles to toss the rock around? Didn’t Brady have any teammates who were closer? How about with Gisele and the kids in the backyard? It’s vacation time, after all. Accompanying Brady was Alex Guerrero. Why the heck was he making the trip? To whip up some yummy kale shakes for Brady and Gronk? No. Brady was taking Gronk’s pulse, as it were. Would he consider coming back? When? Guerrero was there to assure Gronk, his retired “patient,” that with continued therapy (muscle lengthening, bone-cracking and whatever else that Guerrero does that I don’t understand) and diet, that Gronk will greatly lessen his chance of injury and play free from pain. I thought this small news story was hugely significant. Because of it, I make it 60-40 that Gronk returns.

  12. Gronk is a gladiator living in modern times. I think once the clashing of competition begins it’ll drive him mad to not be a part of the biggest competitive stage. I could easily see him swinging onto the stage like Tarzan and joining the royal rumble so to speak.

  13. “If he does come back, he is going to struggle with some of his blocking responsibilities. He did a lot more blocking last year and did a pretty good job of it. I’d expect him to suffer in both the run and pass blocking game if he has lost 20 lbs.”

    Valid point. But that also depends if the Pats want him to put the weight back on, or let him stay at the 240-245 he’s at now and use him split out all the time as a wideout. A lot of his blocking last year was essentially as a 6th Olineman right up against the Oline. I could see either scenario if he decides to play again.

  14. “Highly doubt the Patriots win a playoff game this year.”

    Lolz you’ve said the same sort of thing every year for a long time. Don’t you ever get tired of being wrong?

    And when that finally does come to pass you’ll dance around and proclaim yourself a rocket scientist or the next Nostrodamus.

    Lolz

  15. mhouser1922 says:
    July 16, 2019 at 10:11 am
    A couple of weeks ago, Brady flew from Boston to L.A. to play catch with Gronkowski. I thought at the time, hmmm, 3,000 miles to toss the rock around? Didn’t Brady have any teammates who were closer? How about with Gisele and the kids in the backyard? It’s vacation time, after all. Accompanying Brady was Alex Guerrero. Why the heck was he making the trip?
    ———–
    Probably because Brady’s family lives in Southern Cal? His mom and dad. His sisters, nieces and nephews. Brady’s oldest son lives there too. He spends time there every off season.

  16. As a Pats fan, I hope not. How many ‘comebacks’ actually go well? Remember Reggie White with the Panthers? How about Chris Carter with the Dolphins?

    His final catch was epic. His legacy was already secure but was cemented with that play. Most dominant Tight End ever!

  17. allsyntax says:
    July 16, 2019 at 9:41 am
    No, he wont. The guy doesn’t have enough functional brain cells left. He’s 30 years old, and act’s like he’s 20, turning 21. Don’t get me wrong, he’s talented, and a great QB to get him the ball. But the show is over. Time to move on.

    ————–

    Gronk is dating the cover model for the SI Swimsuit edition, traveling, making appearances, helping kids and he is a bright guy despite his happy goofiness. He’s living his best life. It would be great if he came back, but but he hasn’t lost his brain cells and what ever age he is acting, it’s exactly what he should be doing.

  18. 8oneanddones says:
    July 16, 2019 at 10:57 am
    As a Pats fan, I hope not. How many ‘comebacks’ actually go well? Remember Reggie White with the Panthers? How about Chris Carter with the Dolphins?

    His final catch was epic. His legacy was already secure but was cemented with that play. Most dominant Tight End ever!

    ————-

    Going out on a high note is for the fans. Players generally want to play while they can.

  19. wib22 says:
    July 16, 2019 at 10:00 am
    Highly doubt the Patriots win a playoff game this year.

    ————–

    So you’re saying they have a chance.

  20. wib22 says:
    July 16, 2019 at 10:00 am
    Highly doubt the Patriots win a playoff game this year.
    —————————————————————————–
    You would. Your past prognostications on the Patriots demise have been, shall we say, just a wee bit off?

  21. scoocha says:
    July 16, 2019 at 9:51 am
    He probably doesn’t care about his legacy because fans and the media have been overrating his legacy for a long time now. They gets injured walking onto the field. Glasskowski is more appropriate.

    ———–

    Why is that something you should say? It’s such bitter nonsense. The league was better with him in and you know it.

  22. jman967 says:
    July 16, 2019 at 11:38 am
    If you ask Pats fans the answer is yes. Mainly because the won’t admit that they really, really need him.

    So you apparently DID NOT read the comments as most of them are saying he probably WONT come back.

    And they “really, really need him” ?
    Didn’t they go 11-0 and win a SB WITHOUT him. Yes.

  23. I see Gronk start practicing again with the Pats during their bye week in early November and playing the Nov 24th Cowboys game at home. That will give him 6 games to get ready for the playoffs including a rematch with the Chiefs. Even he has a lost a step or two, just his presence will make the Pats better.

  24. Another made up story by the media.

    Belichick and Brady are focused on the season ahead and on the players that are there in training camp. And Gronkowski IS DEFINITELY not the type of player to skip the first half of the season while the rest of the team grinds out the hard work.

  25. mhouser1922 says:
    July 16, 2019 at 10:11 am
    A couple of weeks ago, Brady flew from Boston to L.A. to play catch with Gronkowski. I thought at the time, hmmm, 3,000 miles to toss the rock around? Didn’t Brady have any teammates who were closer? How about with Gisele and the kids in the backyard? It’s vacation time, after all. Accompanying Brady was Alex Guerrero. Why the heck was he making the trip?
    ———–
    Probably because Brady’s family lives in Southern Cal? His mom and dad. His sisters, nieces and nephews. Brady’s oldest son lives there too. He spends time there every off season.

    Brady’s family lives in northern Cal, not southern Cal. Also, I believe his son now lives in NY as that is where Blue Bloods is filmed which Bridget Moynihan is in.

  26. allsyntax says:
    July 16, 2019 at 9:41 am
    No, he wont. The guy doesn’t have enough functional brain cells left. He’s 30 years old, and act’s like he’s 20, turning 21. Don’t get me wrong, he’s talented, and a great QB to get him the ball. But the show is over. Time to move on.

    *******************************************************************

    Actually, its the exact opposite. There’s nothing wrong with his head. Its the rest of his body that’s mangled. The guy is bright, saved his money, never let his fun interfere with his football (as Belichick demands). He’s just been broken a lot.

  27. “A source close to Gronkowski pegs his potential for an inaugural unretirement at 40 percent.” #fixed

  28. If he was 100% sure he wasn’t coming back he would have filed his retirement papers with the league.

    He hasn’t. That doesn’t mean he definitely will come back, but he’s left the door open.

  29. NE Fanboys will need to get used to hearing Gronk’s name in the past tense. He ain’t comin back.

  30. July 16, 2019 at 11:53 am
    allsyntax says:
    July 16, 2019 at 9:41 am
    No, he wont. The guy doesn’t have enough functional brain cells left. He’s 30 years old, and act’s like he’s 20, turning 21. Don’t get me wrong, he’s talented, and a great QB to get him the ball. But the show is over. Time to move on.

    ————–

    Gronk is dating the cover model for the SI Swimsuit edition, traveling, making appearances, helping kids and he is a bright guy despite his happy goofiness. He’s living his best life. It would be great if he came back, but but he hasn’t lost his brain cells and what ever age he is acting, it’s exactly what he should be doing.

    ————————————————————————————-

    You can’t lose what you never had.

  31. nyneal says:
    July 16, 2019 at 1:46 pm
    July 16, 2019 at 11:53 am
    allsyntax says:
    July 16, 2019 at 9:41 am
    No, he wont. The guy doesn’t have enough functional brain cells left. He’s 30 years old, and act’s like he’s 20, turning 21. Don’t get me wrong, he’s talented, and a great QB to get him the ball. But the show is over. Time to move on.

    ————–

    Gronk is dating the cover model for the SI Swimsuit edition, traveling, making appearances, helping kids and he is a bright guy despite his happy goofiness. He’s living his best life. It would be great if he came back, but but he hasn’t lost his brain cells and what ever age he is acting, it’s exactly what he should be doing.

    ————————————————————————————-

    You can’t lose what you never had.

    ——————

    Well, he didn’t have much trouble understanding and working with the smartest coach in the league and he has lots of M’s in the bank account to prove it. Seems pretty smart to me.

  32. vikings1234 says:
    July 16, 2019 at 1:32 pm
    NE Fanboys will need to get used to hearing Gronk’s name in the past tense. He ain’t comin back.

    ——————

    It’s just NE fans. Fanboy should be reserved for people that are fans of other teams that spend all their time hating on the Patriots.

    I think NE “fans” are happy for Gronk. He brought us lots of joy over the last few years. Selfishly I would like him to comeback, but I think NE fans will be quite fine if he doesn’t.

  33. zonedout100 says:
    July 16, 2019 at 1:06 pm
    mhouser1922 says:
    July 16, 2019 at 10:11 am
    A couple of weeks ago, Brady flew from Boston to L.A. to play catch with Gronkowski. I thought at the time, hmmm, 3,000 miles to toss the rock around? Didn’t Brady have any teammates who were closer? How about with Gisele and the kids in the backyard? It’s vacation time, after all. Accompanying Brady was Alex Guerrero. Why the heck was he making the trip?
    ———–
    Probably because Brady’s family lives in Southern Cal? His mom and dad. His sisters, nieces and nephews. Brady’s oldest son lives there too. He spends time there every off season.

    Brady’s family lives in northern Cal, not southern Cal. Also, I believe his son now lives in NY as that is where Blue Bloods is filmed which Bridget Moynihan is in.

    ————-

    Are we really going to argue about why Brady is travelling to LA and where his family lives?

    Rich famous athletes spend time in LA. A million possible reasons.

  34. Gronk had to work year round to keep his weight up and the injuries down. You can’t just step on the field in Nov or Dec and play. He would need a minimum of 6-8 weeks of training before a comeback. When he starts that, maybe there’s an outside chance. But I seriously doubt it.

  35. It would have been cool if Gronk continued playing. But this sounds like wishful thinking by Pats fans and TV execs. It’s without question the Pats are a better team with Gronk, though they’ve survived in the past when great players left the team. The Pats will be fine as long as Brady and Belichick are there. They’d love to have Gronk there, but he’s smart enough to know he’s made enough $$ for his lifetime. He’ll also join a broadcast booth in some capacity as soon as he wants. He won’t be hurting for money. Here’s to his HoF induction in five years as arguably (and it’s a pretty easy argument) the best TE in NFL history.

  36. A couple of weeks ago, Brady flew from Boston to L.A. to play catch with Gronkowski. I thought at the time, hmmm, 3,000 miles to toss the rock around?

    —————————————————————

    Why not? I doubt Brady was flying commercial in a middle seat. He probably stopped along the way at his cabin in Montana for good measure.

  37. “You can’t lose what you never had.”

    All that comment shows is you are ignorant of Gronk. He puts on the silly frat boy public persona for the fans and media. If you’ve heard him talk when he’s not in that mode he’s quite articulate and quite a smart guy.

  38. vikings1234 says:
    July 16, 2019 at 1:32 pm
    NE Fanboys will need to get used to hearing Gronk’s name in the past tense. He ain’t comin back.

    ——————-
    I think you need to recheck the byline on the article.

  39. Pats Fans: Favre was a tool. But Gronk…WHOA but it is Gronk!

    Rest of Us. : Shaking our collective heads.

    And no he isn’t the GOAT. I like him. I think he is great (and I am not a Pats fan, thus the word “objective”). But I would like to see him play when you could touch people off the line.

  40. Does anyone honestly believe Gronk is never returning to football. He knows that as the years — no months — progress, his star on the walk of fame won’t shine as brightly. Not that he will ever be forgotten– but it’s not the same thing to be a memory. And this league cranks out new memories. It moves on. He knows that. The league — all leagues — teach us that.

    So as soon as he hears commentators, analysts, fans — talking other names — other personalities– he will feel an irrepressible urge to pick up that phone. To whom that first call will be, I don’t know. His agent. Brady. Belichick. I don’t know.

    But that call will be made.

  41. I think he should come back and play for the cheifs for a year or two for league minimum just for fun. Andy Reid is way more fun to be around then B.B. he could line up anywhere come on gronk, move to the midwest

  42. I think they’d take him at any weight, that’s a non-story. It depends if he has plans. Everybody needs something to do, you can only ‘have fun’ full time for so long. Rob is smart enough to know that.

  43. backuppunter says:
    July 16, 2019 at 9:58 pm
    I think he should come back and play for the cheifs for a year or two for league minimum just for fun. Andy Reid is way more fun to be around then B.B. he could line up anywhere come on gronk, move to the Midwest
    ————————————————
    I’m guessing Gronk prefers his head coach to help win Super Bowls. Not lose them.

  44. Well there are part time wrestlers like Lesnar and Undertaker, why wouldn’t the NFL see part time players in guys like Gronk.

    After all it’s all just sports entertainment anyways.

  45. If he comes back will he still get to throw cheapshots at defenders lying on the ground with that weapon he wears on his arm? If the answer is yes, then he is coming back.

  46. If he comes back, he’s making a bad decision, to me. He’s got it made in the shade right now. He gets beautiful women to play with, he has more money than he’ll ever need, he’s relatively healthy, and he’s young. What else could he possibly want?
    My advice is — stay retired, Gronk.

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