Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski gave everyone a surprise after the Super Bowl by responding to a question about a rumor of retirement by saying, “I don’t know how you heard about that.”
The fact that there’s a “that” means that there’s something to the it that became a that. Two weeks later, there’s still no clarity on it or that.
Saturday’s one-liners included a link to an item from Boston.com that looked at the situation, fueled largely by comments from Jeff Darlington of ESPN.
“Weeks before [the AFC Championship game,] Gronkowski was telling people around him the toll on his body was making him lean toward the potential that this was his last season,” Darlington said. “This is a very serious thing for Gronkowski at this point. He will certainly continue to contemplate retirement.”
Darlington said that the situation isn’t “an emotional approach to the loss of the Super Bowl” or “an emotional response to the concussion.”
That said, the concussion suffered four weeks ago today against the Jaguars is a factor. The talk in Minnesota before the Super Bowl was that Gronkowski had never been hit that hard in the head before, and that he struggled to achieve clearance to play in Super Bowl LII. Added to the belief that one or more family members have been urging him to call it quits and the reality that Gronk could make plenty of money by just being Gronk, and the question of whether he’s going to play in 2018 will linger.
The Patriots need to have an idea as to what he’s doing, sooner than later. Sooner as within the next three weeks, when free agency opens and pass-catching (but not run-blocking) replacements like Jimmy Graham become available.