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Rob Gronkowski to miss Patriots' offseason program

When the New England Patriots assemble for the first time since their defeat in Super Bowl LII, they might do so without one of their biggest stars. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, tight end Rob Gronkowski doesn't currently plan to participate in the team's voluntary offseason conditioning program set to begin Monday.

The development follows months of speculation regarding Gronkowski's desire to continue his career. The 28-year-old addressed the topic of retirement at his post-Super Bowl press conference, telling reporters, "I'm definitely going to look at my future, for sure. I'm going to sit down the next couple of weeks and see where I'm at."

Still, Gronkowski's potential absence from voluntary workouts doesn't necessarily mean the All-Pro tight end intends to hang up his cleats quite yet. Rapoport reports that Gronkowski has trained this offseason at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, and the expectation remains that he will play in 2018.

Gronkowski wouldn't represent the only major absence from the Patriots' offseason program, either. Tom Brady is currently on a trip to Qatar with his family and will miss the workouts in Foxborough.

While injuries have limited Gronkowski in recent years, he still ranks among the league's most productive tight ends. He caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017 and leads all tight ends in receiving yardage (3,924) and touchdown receptions (34) since 2014. Gronkowski has earned first-team All-Pro honors five times in his career, most recently last season.

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