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Rob Gronkowski returning to the Patriots in 2020 seems to be off the table given his expected commitment to WWE

Related: Rob Gronkowski continues to make an impact even in retirement

Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Almost immediately after Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from pro football last offseason, rumors about a possible comeback started to swirl around. With every passing week and new business endeavor, however, the chances of him returning to wear the New England Patriots’ uniform decreased substantially: Gronkowski started promoting CBD products last August, and later joined FOX Sports as an analyst.

After spending all of 2019 away from football, and with the Patriots failing to properly fill his shoes during their season without the future Hall of Famer, the rumor mill started working again. Gronkowski admitted that the door for a comeback would always be open, after all, and that he was in better shape than he was during his final year in the NFL. However, any glimmer of hope — at least for the 2020 season — will apparently disappear again soon.

According to report by FOX Sports’ Ryan Satin, Gronkowski is close to finalizing a deal to join World Wrestling Entertainment. The report further states that the 30-year-old could be making his wrestling debut as early as March 20 during a WWE event in New Orleans. This would not be his first time entering the ring, though: Gronkowski already participated as a surprise guest in a WrestleMania event back in 2017.

Him joining the organization now therefore seems like a natural move — and one that effectively put any comeback rumors for this year to rest. Accordingly, the Patriots will need to look elsewhere to improve their tight end group over the course of the offseason: Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo are the only players at the position currently under contract, and neither played a significant role in New England’s offense last season.