Rob Gronkowski spent the last nine years of his life sacrificing his physical wellbeing for our entertainment, so he is welcome to spend his retirement doing whatever he pleases. But for the sake of our mental health, here’s hoping that doesn’t include an array of cryptic social media posts or appearances vaguely teasing an NFL return. The routine is already tiring, and this is before we’ve even seen Matt LaCosse try –– and probably fail –– to ingratiate himself into Tom Brady’s good graces.
Gronk’s latest Instagram teaser came over the weekend, posting some sort of pseudo-inspirational quote about starting over in life. “Someone said, ‘Don’t be afraid to start over again,’” the post reads. “‘This time, you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.’”
A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on Jul 13, 2019 at 7:48am PDT
The meaning of the line that looks like it could’ve been lifted from a roundtable discussion in a freshman philosophy course is ambiguous, and that’s probably the point. Is Gronk “starting over” in his new post-football life, or is he thinking about restarting his football career, hence the part about “starting from experience?”
He’s keeping us guessing, just like last spring, when he spent his time tweeting out Juicy J lyrics while keeping the Patriots in limbo about his playing future.
Even though Gronk retired in March, the rumors about his not-yet-announced comeback have been persistent. At the ESPYs last week, he was filmed conversing with Saints quarterback Drew Brees on the Red Carpet. Social media lip-readers determined Gronkowski told Brees he is “coming back,” even though we know nothing about the substance of their conversation.
Gronkowski could not be more clear about the toll professional football took on his body. At the Super Bowl, the All-World tight end was especially candid about the beating his 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame withstood on a weekly basis.
“It’s tough, it’s difficult. To take hits to the thigh, 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,” Gronkowski said, per the Boston Globe. “And no one realizes that, and everyone expects us players to be wide awake every single day, and it’s like, ‘Yo, I just took 50 hits to my head,’ or not to my head, but I’m saying I just took 50 collisions, and then like 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.”
That sounds like somebody who should be at peace with his decision to hang up the football spikes, especially after undergoing nine operations –– and several back surgeries -– over the last decade. But Gronk keeps fueling the comeback rumors, such as when he worked out with Tom Brady at UCLA last week, overtly playing with the emotions of Patriots fans.
If that’s the case, then I am eagerly anticipating his comeback post, which would probably be announced in explicit terms. This guessing game isn’t beneficial to anyone, except the person in charge of increasing Gronk’s social media engagements.