Why we hope this one doesn’t stick either

Perhaps best of all, it was a joy to watch Gronkowski all the way to the end. It had not been that way when he retired the first time around. His body had begun to betray him and his production plummeted. He caught just three touchdown passes in 2018, his final year in New England. The Patriots won the Super Bowl that season, but it felt as if Gronkowski, wearing his pain so publicly, had faded in front of us. It was hard to watch and even harder to accept that Gronkowski was finished.

That’s why this renaissance in Tampa was so delightful. Brady and Gronkowski revived their buddy-movie vibe-if you have not seen the Tommy & Gronky take a friendship test video from the Bucs, watch it. Bruce Arians smartly deployed Gronkowski when he needed him most. It was the perfect cap on Gronkowski’s extraordinary career, one that will put him in the Hall of Fame, whenever he is eligible (a player or coach must be retired for at least five years before they can be considered).

When Gronkowski retired the first time, you hoped for the best – that his body would heal, that he would recover, that he would be happy with his decision. There was a whiff of sadness then, and an acknowledgment that he had been beaten up. The Bucs years worked wonders, just as he had projected in that college essay, and they felt like the sweet reward for a career that had taken its toll. Like all good desserts, it left you wanting a little bit more.

If Gronkowski’s announcement Tuesday, and Rosenhaus’ subsequent suggestion, merely mean Gronk wants to skip training camp – well, he wouldn’t be the first player. That’s not where the fun is and Gronkowski was all about fun-he participated in a dance-off with a player’s young daughter at a Super Bowl media appearance, inspired erotic literature and once did a Tide Pods ad in which he declared, correctly, “I’m big and awesome!” Brady’s return from his own retirement opens the door for one more revival of what has been the best tight end show in football for more than a decade.

In the end zone, in the playoffs, with Brady. It is where Gronkowski has thrived and it is why we hope this retirement doesn’t stick much longer than Brady’s.

Leave a Comment