Former New England Patriots Star Rob Gronkowski Says 'Never Say Never' on NFL Return

Rob Gronkowski, who's known both for his brute figure and his wild personality, announced recently that he's hosting a party at this season's Super Bowl in Miami, Florida

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said Tuesday that he’s not ruling out an NFL comeback.

Gronkowski, 30, retired from the New England Patriots in March and said he has no plans to return this season — but also isn’t calling it quits on his football career just yet. “I wouldn’t say ‘never coming back,'” Gronkowski told ESPN on Tuesday. “It’s always an option in the back of my head. It’s not like I’m not staying in shape and not doing anything.”

The three-time Super Bowl champion has stayed busy, joining Fox Sports as a football analyst — a fitting place for Gronk’s gigantic personality.

This season, the Patriots’ defense has largely carried the load for the Super Bowl champs with 19 interceptions.

“With the offense, they’re finding ways to make it work like they’ve always done, putting guys in the right situation to make plays,” Gronkowski told ESPN. “But man, they’re missing some guy who is 6-6, 260 [pounds]. They’re missing that guy, for sure.”

The former player would need to come out of retirement by the NFL’s Nov. 30 deadline in order to rejoin the Patriots for this season’s Super Bowl run.

Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts after catching a touchdown pass during the second quarter of a game against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts
Rob Gronkowski reacts after catching one of his 79 career touchdown passes. Tim Bradbury/Getty

The athlete retired from the NFL after a nine-year career in which he estimates he suffered 20 concussions.

“The surgeries [were] adding up, the lifestyle I was living, just the constant hits I was taking,” Gronkowski told CBS News earlier this year. “The inflammation was just storing up in my body and when inflammation’s in your body, you’re working at a slower rate. You’re not at the speed you want to be at. And I knew that. I felt that, over the last two years.”

In an Instagram post announcing his retirement, Gronkowski thanked the team profusely, writing, “I am so grateful for the opportunity that [team owner Robert Kraft] and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last nine years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have met, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been [a part] of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity.”

Gronkowski, who’s known both for his brute figure and his wild personality, announced recently that he’s hosting a party at this season’s Super Bowl in Miami called “Gronk’s Beach.”

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