The Rob Gronkowski when-will-he-return rumor mill kicked back into high gear last week after New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft noted the three-time Super Bowl champion hasn’t signed retirement papers.
While Kraft put it all out there, Tom Brady is staying more neutral, at least in media appearances, and indicated he won’t ask Gronk to come back to the field.
Brady won’t lobby for Gronk’s return
Though he could use the veteran back in his offense, Brady said on “The Greg Hill Show” Monday morning on WEEI that he wouldn’t lobby for the 30-year-old to return.
"I love that guy. I'm so happy that he's enjoying his time, his life. He seems to really be doing a lot of great things. He knows how I feel about him. I want what's best for him. He's the only person that can make those decisions. I don't lobby for those things."
The last opportunity for Gronkowski to be reinstated would be Dec. 6, before the Patriots’ 13th game of the season, per CBS Sports. The chitter-chatter will likely last until then.
Gronk in a different life phase, Brady says
Gronkowski gave the Patriots a Hall of Fame level career over his nine seasons with 15.1 average yards per catch, 79 touchdowns and four Super Bowl appearances. His retirement wasn’t much of a surprise and when he announced it, he cited the physical pounding of football.
It is unlikely he returns to the field, and Brady acknowledged his former teammate has shifted priorities.
"I have a great relationship with him. He has given actually a hell of a lot to our team already over the course of a long period of time, and I think people should be very appreciative for what he’s brought to the team and what he’s brought to the region. I think he’s a very special guy. He’s just in a different phase of his life.”
Gronkowski was hired as an analyst for Fox last week and debuted on Thursday night when the Patriots defeated the New York Giants. It was the same night Kraft sparked more speculation.
Robert Kraft sparks speculation Gronk will return
The speculation that Gronkowski would return at some time never vanished, but it did quiet down. That is, until Patriots owner Robert Kraft discussed the tight end Thursday night on NFL Network.
“We all love Gronk and I think the bottom line is, he hasn’t put his retirement papers in,” Kraft told NFL Network. “So we can always pray and hope.
“There is hope for us still with Gronk.”
Gronkowski said he’ll always leave the door open, but he’s not mentally ready to return.
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