Clarifying the Rob Gronkowski 2019 return deadline

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Last year, when the Cowboys reportedly were pushing for tight end Jason Witten to return, we learned that there’s an in-season drop-dead date for emerging from retirement. With retired-for-now tight end Rob Gronkowski periodically musing about a return to the Patriots during the 2019 season, we asked the league for the specific dates and deadlines applicable to a potential return to action by a player who started training camp on the reserve/retired list.

If Gronkowski had requested reinstatement before the trade deadline, the Patriots would have been required to immediately reinstate him. They could have then embraced him, traded him, or cut him.

After the trade deadline, Gronkowski can request reinstatement through the business day prior to the Patriots’ Week 13 game (at Texans). If/when he does, the Patriots have the option to activate him or to keep him on the reserve/retired list.

After the team’s Week 13 game, Gronkowski cannot request reinstatement, and thus he cannot return this year.

So the clock is ticking, and Gronkowski has fewer than five weeks to come back this season or not until 2020.

UPDATE 10:21 a.m.: The NFL previously had informed PFT that the deadline for an in-season return is tied to the team’s 13th game. The league has since corrected that information, explaining that the deadline applies to the Week 13 game. Which for the Patriots is its 12th game.

17 responses to “Clarifying the Rob Gronkowski 2019 return deadline

  1. I agree with other commenters. He’s lost a ton of weight. Even if he came back-his effectiveness-especially with blocking at the line would be suspect. Catching passes who knows.

  2. He’s prob been drinking his happy juice every day, which he’d have to get out of his system as they’d test him pronto if he came back. And wk14 would be too late to get back into game shape anyway. But I’m not yet 100% convinced he’s totally done – say a 25% chance in 2020.

  3. I’m enjoying watching this year’s incarnation of the team. Far from perfect on offense, but I would be my paycheck they’ll be rolling by playoff time. If the defense can maintain, it’s gonna be a great year.

  4. Now starting for Patruots at Tight End number 86 Marv Cook,,, I mean number 87 Ben Coates,,, and finally Ladies and Gentlemen Rob Gronkowski… bring em all back…

  5. Why would he come back? He is happy, healthy, and wealthy, no reason to jeopardize that. He accomplished anything that needed to be accomplished.

  6. One place where Pats are mediocre this year is red zone TD’s. Initially I thought Gronk would be back for sure after getting his body healed up, but now not so sure. Even so, the idea of basically playing in January, one month for a potential ring might get his competitiveness going.

  7. For what ir’s worth, I read in a recent interview in a Toronto paper no less that quoted Gronk. as saying he has recently been asked to return by ownership.

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