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Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski doesn’t rule out a comeback at one point in the future

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Related: Rob Gronkowski acknowledges that there will be times when he will miss football

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The press release was simply titled ‘Gronk tackles new opportunity: Rob Gronkowski reveals his next chapter,’ so reporters and fans alike were left wondering what the 30-year-old had in store for them. What would this new chapter look like? Would it have to do something with football? Maybe a comeback? The answers were simple, and non-football related: he is now a CBD advocate and will help develop a health and wellness line.

Of course, however, Gronkowski’s life with and without football was also discussed during the press conference in New York on Tuesday morning. And one thing became clear when hearing the three-time Super Bowl winner talk about this game and his experiences with it: it was not just physically exhausting to him, but mentally as well. This became evident when an emotional Gronkowski spoke about his time away from football.

“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. I really was, and I was fighting through it,” the future Hall of Famer said while fighting against tears. Gronkowski, of course, spent nine seasons in the NFL — all with the New England Patriots — and announced his retirement from pro football in late March.

Rumors about a potential comeback have followed him around wherever he went since then, even though Gronkowski repeatedly pointed out that he was in fact planning on staying retired for the time being. However, the press conference earlier today saw him sing a slightly different tune: a comeback at one point in the future is not off the table completely, although it should not be expected to happen anytime soon if at all.

“If I have the desire to play football again, if I feel passionate about football again, if I’m feeling like I need to be back out there on the field I will go back to football,” said Gronkowski. “But as of right now, that is not the case. It could be the case in six months. It could be the case in two years. It could be the case in three years. It could be the case in three months. But I really don’t see it in the foreseeable future, in like a week or a month.”

“What it has to take is that desire to know that I want to be back out there on the field,” Gronkowski continued when talking about a potential returning of his pro football. “Physically, I’ll be ready. I could play right now if I wanted to play, hands down. I could run fast right now, I’m feeling good. Physically-wise, I can do it. Mentally-wise, desire-wise it’s not there. My mind, my soul keeps telling me ‘you need more time off.’”

Gronkowski pointed out that he is without pain right now for the first time in more than a decade. Changes in diet, workout regimen and his overall lifestyle were credited for that — as were the CBD products he was promoting. But there is still a significant difference between not feeling pain and being mentally and physically able to return to the football field. At this point, Gronkowski is not, but his status could change.

“When I feel like my body is top-notch, my soul, my mind, mentally and physically I’m ready then I will go back to the NFL — if I ever get to that point,” he said. “If I have that desire and I want to go back out there and I’m ready for it, then so be it.”