Patriots owner Robert Kraft isn’t sure that Rob Gronkowski is really retired.
Kraft said today on NFL Network that he still hopes Gronkowski, the tight end who announced his retirement this offseason, could play for the Patriots this year.
“We all love Gronk, and I think the bottom line is he hasn’t put his retirement papers in. So we can always pray and hope,” Kraft said. “There is hope for us still with Gronk.”
Not filing retirement papers isn’t necessarily an indication that Gronkowski isn’t serious about retirement. Plenty of retired players don’t file the paperwork right away. But Kraft is using it as an opening to talk about the possibility of bringing him back, and to make it clear that Gronk would be welcome if he wants to come back.
What might be even more persuasive for Gronkowski would be Tom Brady asking him to return as well. As PFT reported in July, a personal plea from Brady is viewed by some as the thing that could persuade Gronkowski to return.
So far, the Patriots have been just fine without Gronk. But the Patriots wanted another offensive playmaker enough that they signed Antonio Brown, and after that didn’t work out they may seek another playmaker. Perhaps one they know well, and one who has won Super Bowls with them before.