Patriots' Rob Gronkowski coy on potential retirement

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Rob Gronkowski plays coy with the best of them, even if it's sometimes painfully awkward.

Count Super Bowl LIII Opening Night as one of them.

Gronkowski was pressed on the looming potential of retirement early in his session with credentialed media Monday night at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, and he tap-danced around it as well as a 6-foot-6, 268-pound man can.

"As of right now, that's one of the last things I'm thinking about," Gronkowski said. "I love playing the game. ... a few weeks down the road, you relax, you get some down time, enjoyment time and you just see where you want to go with it."

Decent non-answer, Gronk. The same inquisitive reporter decided to have a second go at it, redressing the question with a more direct approach: Do you want to play past this season?

"That's a tricky question," Gronkowski said with widening eyes, sweat possibly forming beneath the brim of his cap. "He's just trying to get some answers over here, baby, but like I said I don't know, I haven't done that sit-down yet. I gotta do that sit-down. About two weeks after."

Gronkowski remains vague about his future, but the physical toll the game has taken on him was more apparent this season than ever. He looked stiff when running down the field, struggled at times to jump as he did in past years, and caught just three touchdown passes. In the red zone, where he was once a frightening threat to opponents, he often wasn't even an option later in the season.

Rumblings of a potential retirement are more understandable now than in the past. But as it has been for a while now, we'll have to wait until after Super Bowl LIII for an answer.

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