Gronk’s next party should be a retirement one
They’re making the rounds, as one would expect Super Bowl champions to do.
Look, there’s Julian Edelman waving the green flag at the Daytona 500 on Sunday. The previous Sunday, he and Devin McCourty were presenters at the Grammy Awards.
Turn on the NBA All-Star Game and there’s owner Robert Kraft courtside, enjoying the limelight. It’s amazing none of the Patriots were named to host this Sunday’s Oscars.
It will no doubt continue. That’s what happens with Super Bowl champions, they are a hot commodity. This is a lot unlike a year ago when the Patriots faded into the rest of the winter, except for all of the drama as to whether Tom still liked Bill – and whether Rob would retire.
Well, we get the feeling Tom Brady and Bill Belichick don’t have any huge problems with each other.
Gronkowski retirment? Well, that’s still a question mark.
It shouldn’t be.
The glamour and glitz of winning the Super Bowl can certainly make playing pro football seem even more enticing. You wonder if it is impacting the outlook of one Rob Grownkowski, who certainly sounded during Super Bowl week like a player whose body has had enough of the pounding, of the injuries, of the surgeries.
In the off-season, the body may heal up and the thinking may be, “I can do this again, no problem. I feel great.”
Until the hitting starts, the pain returns, and the body starts to feel the stress. With Gronkowski, it’s unavoidable.
We think the concussion scare that made him somewhat questionable in the week leading up to the Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia – remember, it wasn’t until Thursday of that week that he was a go and addressed the media – had him seriously pondering retirment, with a little push from his family.
And let’s not forget that during the course of this season Gronkowski simply didn’t look like himself, and we found out later he was bothered by this and that (most notably the back, for which he’s had multiple surgeries).
His big catches in crunch time of both the AFC Championship game and Super Bowl this past month gave us all glimpses of the Gronk of old. He was equally valuable – perhaps even more so – with his blocking in the resurgent Patriots running game.
And the microphones picked up Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Gronkowski giving each other compliments after the game. Don’t let that fool you, either; you have to wonder if the Patriots are going to want to keep him at the $9 million base salary he’s due to make for the 2019 season.
You have to understand the rush from the competition, from playing the game, from winning can be very alluring for a player who has hit that crossroad. You tend to think of the present, not the future.
Probably in June Gronkowski will receive at a team ceremony his third Super Bowl ring. He is clearly ticketed for the Hall of Fame. There is nothing left to prove. He even said after the game that “This whole year was the biggest team win, biggest team Super Bowl that I’ve ever been a part of.”
It’s unlikely he’ll be part of a bigger one, right? He also said right after the game two weeks ago his retirement decision – he had fun goading the media during Super Bowl week, as only he could – would “be decided in a few weeks or so.”
So we’re getting close. The Patriots will certainly need to know by the time the new league year begins close to mid-March so they can make their free agency/draft plans.
Before the playoffs began, it certainly seemed like retirement was inevitable. Now, a Super Bowl win on a team he really liked being a part of could change that.
It shouldn’t. Listen to your body, Rob Gronkowski.
Announce your retirement. And party on.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,firstname.lastname@example.org, or@Telegraph _TomK.