Around the NFL  

 

Rob Gronkowski says he'll play for Patriots in 2018

Print

Rob Gronkowski isn't leaving the gridiron for the big screen, the squared circle or the dirt-bike track.

Gronkowski will return to the Patriots for a ninth season in 2018, the All-Pro tight end announced via Instagram on Thursday.

"I met with coach today and informed him I will be back for the 2018 season with the Pats," Gronkowski wrote. "I have been working out, staying in shape and feel great. Looking forward to another championship run."

Coach Bill Belichick must have been pleased with the meeting, as agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN that "it was very positive and Rob is committed."

Retirement speculation has swirled around Gronkowski since he vowed to "sit down" and contemplate his future in the wake of New England's Super Bowl LII downfall.

While Gronkowski remained silent on his 2018 plans, rumors surfaced suggesting he would consider leaving football for a career as a big-screen action hero or professional wrestler.

After skipping voluntary workouts last week, Gronkowski added fuel to the fire with a bizarre promotional news conference that cited dirt-biking as the reason for his continued absence.

Although Gronkowski is not yet 30 years old, his body has been ravaged by a litany of injuries that now includes a late-season concussion on top of multiple surgeries to his back, knee and forearm. It's natural that he would take time to weigh the positives and negatives of another season absorbing blows from other behemoths.

The primary motivation for his offseason behavior, however, might be financial.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Gronkowski's attitude toward the team's offseason conditioning program stems from his desire for a new contract.

"He is going to play for the Patriots," Rapoport explained on Tuesday's edition of NFL Total Access. "The only question is what is his salary going to be. I would expect that Gronkowski and the team are going to discuss that."

In the weeks following Super Bowl LII, New England's loss was compounded by the doubts affixed to Gronkowski, quarterback Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Now that the all-important offensive trio is officially onboard for another run at the Lombardi Trophy, the healing can begin.

Print