“I mean I’m definitely going to look at my future, for sure,” the 28-year-old told reporters. “I’m going to sit down the next couple of weeks and see where I’m at.”
Well, it is April now and Gronkowski’s future is still unclear. The Patriots began offseason workouts Monday and the Pro Bowl tight end was a no-show.
There are a few theories as to why.
One, perhaps Gronkowski is legitimately considering retiring.
He is still playing at an elite level, but he’s had multiple back surgeries (one of which caused him to miss his junior year at Arizona), and has missed several games over the years because of injuries to his forearm, ACL, MCL, thigh, lung, head, and hamstring.
So it would be understandable if he chooses to step away from the game to prioritize his long-term health.
Two, some believe Gronkowski and Tom Brady are not showing up to voluntary workouts to try to send a message to head coach Bill Belichick.
“Whether Brady and Gronk are miffed at the way Belichick has treated their workout guru Alex Guerrero, or there remains a rift that Belichick finally rolled snake eyes in benching Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl, or the general ego clashing that always tends to crumble sports dynasties, there is something there,” wrote Ryan Glasspiegel of The Big Lead.
Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports detailed how “the culture” around Belichick and the Patriots is wearing thin on players.
In Tom vs. Time, Gisele Bundchen stated that her husband just wants to go to work and have “fun” and be “appreciated.” The inference is obvious. He isn’t feeling either of those. And the fact he took the initiative to get that out there (though it would be most effective if he articulated it clearly himself) emboldened others.
Gronk is the one most obviously emboldened and his situation is ongoing.
But Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola and Nate Solder -- all free agents who departed this offseason -- laced their praise of the Patriots program with laments about how hard it was to play here.
Then again, Gronkowski could just be holding out for a new contract. It happens all the time in the NFL, and this appears to be the likeliest scenario.
“Gronk has been local this offseason, working out at times at Gillette Stadium and across the parking lot at Alex Guerrero’s hub at Patriot Place, so he hasn’t been hard to find,” wrote Jeff Howe of The Athletic. “But as his teammates report Monday for the launch of the voluntary program, Gronk likely won’t be with them.
“At this point, it’s about the money, according to a source.”
If that’s true, we probably haven’t seen the last of Gronk on the gridiron. But it will be interesting to see where things go from here.