Imagine hopping in the DeLorean, traveling back in time a few years, and telling everyone this:
In the 2019 AFC Wild Card Round, the first Patriots first down of the game is going to be an absolute monster catch where a tight end just bodies the defender and hauls it in to move the chains.
Everyone: Sounds about right, that’s Gronk babyyyyy.
You: Plot twist - it’s Ben Watson, not Gronk, cause Gronk’s gone from football forever.
Everyone: (makes that face a puppy makes when you hide a tennis ball behind your back and then show them the other hand)
Skip to about 0:59 if your brain’s already deleted this entire game from your hard drive. Or don’t, if you’d prefer to leave it that way.
Meanwhile, back in the present day, rumors and it-ain’t-over-till-it’s-over what-ifs about a potential Rob Gronkowski comeback are just part of what we do now, same as speculating with wide-eyed hope about Ghostbusters 3 or a My Chemical Romance reunion tour.
Er, wait, scratch that last one. You know what I meant.
And really, Gronk deserves some credit for always, always, always answering the comeback question with a smile on his face and the candor that only an international superstar that’s almost a surefire lock for a first-ballot Hall of Famer that went out on top can possibly have. Right before Super Bowl weekend, Gronk hopped on Barstool radio to talk about his (roughly) 10,000 business ventures and when the subject of the comeback came up, this should set your expectations going forward.
Let’s pick it up with Gronk’s thoughts on the 2019 playoffs:
Q: Do you watch that Titans playoff game and do you get pissed, or do you just watch it and you’re removed enough from it now?
Gronk: Nah, I’m removed enough from it. I’ve also played many games, I’ve been hurt, sometimes too, so when you’re hurt though, and you’re part of the team, that’s when it really affected you, that’s when it really sucks. I knew it was my time, man.
Q: That part, I was on the train-
Gronk: To tell you, I thought it was my time the year before, and then I was like, I stretched it out one more year, and then after that year, I was like, “OK”.
Q: Last year, the year we won, you won, it looked like you came to life at the end of the season, you looked like you had lost a step early and then all of a sudden as the season progressed, you looked like old Gronk and the team kind of went with you, almost, as it picked up.
Gronk: Yeah definitely, I would say when it came down to the playoffs time, it just takes you to the next, you know, stratosphere in competing in football, and definitely, I 100% lost a step. I can tell you that, I 100% lost a step. I actually lost like, 3 steps, some games, I didn’t even want to be out there on the field. I was like ‘Yo, I feel like complete ass’, like, ‘coach, put freakin’ Dwayne in, I don’t even care’, like, I was at that point, and when you’re at that point, you know you gotta walk away from the game. But I was halfway through the season, I wasn’t going to walk away from the game, but I can tell you this, that step that I lost, I’m like, 2 steps ahead of that now, I’m that much quicker.”
Q: Do you think there’s a chance you play again?
Gronk: You know, when you go that deep in the whole, it’s either you fight out of the hole and then you learn from it, and that’s what my whole goal was to do, well like, why did I lose that step, why was I slow, why was I getting beat, and I was like, I gotta get away from football and go learn and figure out why.
Q: So do you think there’s a chance you play again?
Gronk: You know, I love competing, and I don’t know, man, I would say the door will always be open, man. Cause there are some times, for sure, I’m only 30 years old, I’m in better shape-
Q: Well did they-
Gronk: I would say that there was times, there’s been like 3 times where I was like, dang man, what if I was playing, I kind of miss it, and those times lasted like an hour each time, and I was like, oh yeah, no.
Q: But we read reports...
Gronk: It would have to last like, literally a month straight, like, man, I need to play football.
Q: What’s that hour like? Are you like (smacks fist), or is it just a little-
Gronk: It’s kind of in the middle of a workout, like my body’s feeling good again, like I’m feeling like I was-
Q: Like ‘I could f*ckin’ do it! I could be at the top!
Gronk: Yeah, exactly, like, everything’s kicking back in.
Q: But there were reports all year last year, during the year, like they’ve reached out to you. Was there a point, did the Patriots reach out to you early on in the year, like, do you want to come back?
Gronk: Not like that, kind of, I feel like, in an indirect way, like Mr. Kraft one time was on TV and he brought it up, and was like “Oh, he’s welcome back anytime” and it was super kind, and a great offer to have on the table, and he told me at the ring ceremony too, that hey, before the season even started, any time you want to come back, the door will be open.
Q: How would you, obviously, a ton of success, there was also rumors at times that you and Belichick were like, butting heads over either the way injury was treated or a whole variety of factors. How would you describe your relationship with him?
Gronk: I would say in that building, it’s kind of a work relationship with every player, and coach Belichick for sure. And that’s how he likes it, you know, that’s how he believes that you keep the organization going. You know, you gotta be able to have, I wouldn’t say control, but you gotta be able to manage, you know, 53 players, 53 grown men. So it’s kind of always like a work relationship, imagine, you know, if it’s just a friendship-
Q: So there’s no Christmas cards, basically
Gronk: Yeah, no Christmas cards, exactly. But you learn so much, dude, he’s the best coach, hands down, he knows his football like no other.
Watch the whole 20-minute interview here.
Yo soy fiesta forever.