Mike Freeman – No one believes Gronk is really retired
Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski made a public appearance recently and said he was done with football. What I can tell you is few people, including sources on the Patriots, believe that.
The belief is that once the season gets going, and Gronkowski starts missing football, he will rejoin the team. It’s not just a hunch, sources say; you can count on it.
Wow. Those are strong words from an NFL reporter whose own Tweet I couldn’t use because he’s blocked me for some unknown reason. I can only assume he was being a Deflategate Truther at some point and couldn’t handle my pro-Ideal Gas Law, 8th grade physics, settled science, white hot facts. I wouldn’t know.
But that’s neither here nor there. The important takeaway is that he’s in the good graces of sources – plural, meaning multiple – within the Patriots organization who are saying Gronk will be back. Not could be. Not may be. Not perhaps will be. Without any qualifiers or caveats. He’ll rejoin the team. We “can count on it.”
Personally, a couple of weeks after he announced he was calling it a career, I set my Gronk UnRetirement Probability Meter at 50/50. Because Willie McGinest played out that very scenario on NFL Network before Gronk even made his decision. And because Jason Witten took an entire year off and walked away from “Monday Night Football.” That needle moved more toward him returning in 2019 as the weeks and months passed. When Brady commented on an Instagram post about how he hopes they’ll connect on more passes, I moved it to 55/45. When Rodney Harrison said he thinks Gronk’ll return, I set it to 60/40.
There’s just been so much smoke here there has to be a fire. We’ve yet to see him in a wrestling ring after being told for years that’s his next career. I’ve watched all the movie trailers and still haven’t seen the vehicle he’ll be chasing Oscars in. All we’ve seen him dedicating his time to is visiting children’s hospitals, shaving his head for cancer charities and looking incredible along with Caroline Kostek. In other words, doing what he’s always done this time of year. Plus we don’t see the team scrambling in a desperate attempt to pick up a veteran given their only tight ends are a suspended, 39-year-old Ben Watson and four guys with a combined 63 career catches. Nobody is acting like he’s going to stay retired. And now they’re anonymously leaking out he’s not going to stay retired.
As always, when faced with two uncertainties, I always choose to believe the one I want to be true. So after this, I’ll recalibrate the UnRetirement Meter it to 67/33. Making it twice as likely he’ll be back as not. It not only gives me hope we’ll see a tanned, rested, ready, healthy and back pain-free Best Tight End of All Time back on the field for December and the postseason, it’ll scare the rest of the playoff field into abandoning all hope.