It Doesn’t Sound Like Rob Gronkowski Is Coming Out of Retirement Anytime Soon
Rob Gronkowski was a powerhouse player who shined brightly with the Patriots (even if that shine was sometimes overshadowed by Tom Brady). During his time in the NFL, he racked up an impressive 79 touchdowns and, equally impressively, only four fumbles.
Known to fans as “Gronk,” the tight end also had five Super Bowl appearances over his nine-year career.
All good things must come to an end, though. Gronkowski announced his retirement after last season, and the Patriots appear poised to move on as a team without him.
Football is a dangerous sport
The NFL as a whole is facing renewed scrutiny over the safety of the game. There are several high-profile injuries that took fans’ breaths away and sometimes left players permanently injured. Leonard Weaver’s 2010 knee injury and Rashad Johnson’s 2013 injury that resulted in the loss of the top of his finger both stick in viewers’ minds.
Oddly enough, it’s not these horrific injuries that dominate the conversation about the overall safety of the sport.
Instead, critics are focused on the day-to-day impact of frequent “minor” head injuries. This concern has been deemed the “concussion crisis,” and it has been the subject of many medical explorations as well as popular films like Will Smith’s Concussion.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.) is the name for the debilitating disorder that results from a major head trauma. What we now know is that it can also accumulate over time when there are successive head injuries that are much less noticeable at the time of impact.
The long-term results of C.T.E. are devastating, and former NFL players are five to nineteen times more likely to receive dementia-related diagnoses later in life.
Gronkowski opened up about his injuries
Gronkowski explains that over the course of his career, he has suffered more than his fair share of injuries from the sport. “I had nine surgeries,” he explained. “Probably had like 20 concussions in my life, like no lie. I remember five, like blackout ones.”
While there are plenty of reasons to retire from professional sports—the grueling workout and diet requirements to stay at peak performance among them—Gronkowski seems to have a keen understanding of just how risky his chosen career could be.
After nearly a decade of high-impact performances, those injuries have taken a toll, and it appears that he is serious about stepping away from the sport.
Gronkowski reflects on whether his son should follow his footsteps
In the same interview, Gronkowski was asked if he would let his son follow in his footsteps and play football. Perhaps surprisingly given his own understanding of the risks, Gronkowski responded that he would allow it.
He added that he would want to make the risk clear: “I would let my son play football, but first off I would educate him on the game. Educate him on what I went through. I truly believe any injury that you receive is fixable. I went through it.”
While there may still be hope that a Gronkowski family member will eventually make it back onto the professional NFL field, it appears that the retirement is going to stick.
The Patriots have brought in free agent Lance Kendricks, which seems to put an end to speculation that they might be able to lure Gronkowski out of retirement and back onto the field this year. Kendricks has some big shoes to fill, but he is a seasoned player who is prepared to build a legacy of his own with one of the top teams in the league.
In the world of professional sports, retirements are inevitable, and the show must go on.