Tomorrow, the offseason will come to an end for the New England Patriots' players as the team will kick off the first phase of its offseason workout program. Together with the strength and conditioning staff, players will begin working to get back into football shape. While participation is voluntary, the Patriots historically have had very good attendance this early during the process over the last couple of years.
2018 will be a bit different, though, as two of the team's star players will not be present for tomorrow's workouts: quarterback Tom Brady and, according to a recent report by ESPN's Adam Schefter, tight end Rob Gronkowski as well.
Like Patriots’ QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski will not attend the start of New England’s off-season program Monday, per source.
Gronkowski still is considering whether to play the upcoming 2018 season, and has had “good communication” with the Patriots, per source.
While New England's quarterback will miss tomorrow's session because of a charity event in Qatar, Gronkowski is absent for undisclosed reasons. However, seeing him not join his teammates comes at a peculiar time as rumors about the 28-year old potentially retiring have dominated the news cycle all offseason long. Schefter's report will only add fuel to the fire, despite the positive-sounding second paragraph.
Ultimately, Gronkowski is still expected back next season but unless he actually joins the rest of the team rumors will remain. How long until this happens is up in the air given that the first phases of offseason workouts are voluntary. The NFL's best tight end does have $250,000 in workout bonuses in his contract this year, though, which will be paid out depending on how many of the workouts he attends.
The first day Gronkowski is mandated to be with his team is June 5, the start of the Patriots' minicamp.