Gronk's Future

You got out of the game at 29. You won.

Jim Rome
August 28, 2019 - 9:39 am
Rob Gronkowski

USA Today

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For a while now, there has been this thought or rumor or suggestion that Rob Gronkowski isn’t actually retired, that he’s just taking some time off and he’ll come back at some point. But if what he said yesterday is true, he sure as hell better not come back.

At one point, talking yesterday, he sounded almost exactly like another guy who retired at 29, Andrew Luck:"I want to be clear to my fans. I needed to recover. I was not in a good place. Football was bringing me down, and I didn't like it. I was losing that joy in life.”

And then he got into the grisly details of an injury he suffered in the Super Bowl that told him it was time to retire.

"I got done with the game, I could barely walk. I go to the after party, I sit down and I’m just chilling all day, like the rest of the night until 3 a.m. I try to go to bed, I slept for five minutes that night. I couldn’t even think.”

He continued: "I was in tears, in my bed, after a Super Bowl victory. It didn't make that much sense to me. And then, for four weeks, I couldn't even sleep for more than 20 minutes a night after a Super Bowl win. And I was like, 'Damn, this sucks.' "

Uh, yeah, that does suck. And you know what sucks more than only getting 20 minutes of sleep for a month? Having internal bleeding. That sucks even worse.

And Gronk says he had that: "I had internal bleeding. I took out 200 milliliters of blood four weeks later, and then another week later ... I took out 500 milliliters of blood, and then I took out 300 more milliliters of blood from my quad.”

If you haven’t been doing the math on that, don’t worry, Gronk’s got you covered: "So, that's a total of 1,000 milliliters (one liter) I took out of my quad over a four-week period after the Super Bowl. It’s not normal."

Ah, no, it is not normal.

How much blood are we talking about coming out of his quad? Go to your fridge. Look for a big bottle of soda, I know you have it in there. Take out that big bottle of soda and then picture that half full with Gronk’s blood.

Imagine that much blood being drained from your quad. Kind of sucks, right?

And that’s just one of his injuries. Now come in here and tell me that NFL players aren’t tough. And that guys who walk away from that sport are quitters or soft or weak.

Before that quad injury that required draining a Big Gulp worth of blood, he had suffered:

- A back injury that cost him an entire season in college

- A high ankle sprain that required surgery

- An inguinal hip pull

- A forearm fracture

- He then fractured it again, which called for three more surgeries

- A vertebrae fracture

- A concussion, a torn ACL, and a torn MCL on the same play

- A knee strain

- A hamstring pull

- A lung bruise

- A vertebral disc hernia that required surgery

- A thigh bruise

- Another concussion

- And another back and ankle injury that cost him three games

And as always, these are only the injuries that we know about. And here’s the thing, Gronk said yesterday that "physically, I could play right now,” but mentally, he’s not ready.

And let me say this right now – Gronk, don’t even think about it.

It’s your body and it’s your life and you didn’t ask for my opinion.

I’m not in the business of telling people what they should and should not do with their bodies and their lives, but my man, don’t come back.

Seriously. Do not come back. Do not think about coming back. Don’t even look back.

For who? For what?

You’re a 3-time Super Bowl champion. A five-time Pro Bowler. And arguably the most dominant player ever at your position. And you got out of the game at 29. You won. You got over.

You’re known for being very careful with your money, so I know you don’t need the cash. So why would you bother coming back?

When you know the toll that it’s taken on your body and your mind, why come back? There are so many other things you can do with your life. And there is so much more to your life than smashing the crap out of people and getting the crap smashed out of you.

Coming back would be like the bank robber who tries to go back for one last score. We’ve all seen that movie and it never works. It always ends terribly. He gets greedy and it ends in disaster.

And that’s exactly how this could go if Gronk comes back. And I don’t want to see it.

You got out. You got to do what so few players get to do – to leave on your terms and to do it right after winning a Super Bowl.

Enjoy it. Enjoy your life. Get healthy and enjoy your health. How many Super Bowl rings are enough? And how many back surgeries are too many?

Don’t get me wrong. The game is better when Gronk is playing. We’ve never seen anyone like him on the field before and might never see anything like him ever again. And that is completely okay with me.

What I don’t want to see is a broken down Gronk. A Gronk whose body is destroyed and whose spirit is broken by the game. Part of what made him great was the joy he brought to the game. And as he said, when that joy was gone, it was time for him to go.

You listened to your body and your mind the first time. Keep on listening to that. Do not come back. Again, you didn’t ask for my opinion. But you’re going to get anyway. Stay the hell away. The reward no longer outweighs the risk. At least not you, big dawg.