ATLANTA — New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said this week at Super Bowl LIII that he will take a couple weeks after the season before deciding on whether to retire, and on Wednesday he detailed part of his thinking when addressing the physical toll the game has taken on him.
“The season is a grind. It’s up and down. I’m not going to lie and sit here and say every week is the best. Not at all. You go up. You go down. You can take some serious hits,” Gronkowski said. “Try to imagine getting hit all the time and trying to be where you want to be every day in life. It’s tough. It’s difficult. To take hits to the thigh, to take hits to your head, abusing your body, isn’t what your brain wants. When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You have to be able to deal with that, too, throughout the season. You have to be able to deal with that going into games.”
The 6-foot-6, 268-pound Gronkowski has a lengthy history with injuries, which include his back, knee and forearm. He said he’s learned how to come back from those injuries — both physically and mentally — but it’s never easy.
“Everyone expects us players to be wide awake every single day. It’s like ‘Yo, I just took 50 collisions’ and the next day everyone wants you to be up. They want practice full speed, next week they want the game to be full speed. But they don’t understand sometimes what players are going through with their bodies, with their minds,” he said.
“That’s why I would say you see a shift in players, in games, where people are down the whole game and then you see all of a sudden the next week, it’s like ‘How did this team just go from one switch to the other?’”
Finishing his ninth NFL season, Gronkowski, 29, turned reflective at one point when asked about what he’s achieved in his career.
“I’m really satisfied with how my whole career has been, super satisfied. There’s ups and downs, but the thing is always coming back,” he said. “There’s so many examples of great players here before me , when I was young, to look up to, and see how they bounce back when something adverse comes their way.”
Gronkowski said he isn’t certain what he’ll do once he retires, but with a dash of humor he added, “I know it’s going to be a great life. I know that, baby!”
Asked directly if he planned on retiring after Super Bowl LIII, a question he’s heard often in recent days, Gronkowski also turned to humor.
“Yes, no, maybe so!” he cracked.