There is ample speculation over whether tonight's Super Bowl could be the last game for Tom Brady or Bill Belichick. The Patriot star who is most likely to call it a career is probably tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Gronk is only 29, and he remains an elite blocker at the position, even if his status as a pass catcher has dminished a bit.
He's been injury prone throughout his career though, and mulled a retirement after last year's Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
According to reports, Gronkowski effectively blocked a potential trade to the Detroit Lions, saying that he would only play with Tom Brady, or retire.
Ultimately, he chose to come back, but posted his lowest yardage total (682) and touchdown mark (three) of his career in seasons in which he played double-digit games. Gronk was active for 13 games this season.
The typically jokey Rob Gronkowski had a pretty rational take when asked if he'd retire after this game during Super Bowl media day.
From NESN's Zach Cox:
After the laughs, Gronkowski's answer was a bit sobering. Via USA Today:
“To take hits to the thigh, take hits to your head,” Gronkowski said. “Abusing your body isn’t what your brain wants. When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You’ve got to be able to deal with that, too, throughout the season. You’ve got to be able to deal with that in the games.
“And no one realizes that, and everyone expects us players to be wide awake every single day, and it’s like, ‘Yo, i just took 50 hits to my head — or not to my head, but I’m saying I just took 50 collisions, and then like the next day everyone wants you to be up. They want practice full speed, next week they want the game to be full speed, but they don’t understand sometimes what players are going through with their bodies, with their minds.”
This morning, Brady said that he'll retire when he "sucks," and there's no real indication that Belichick is ready to step down, though he's very secretive. Gronkowski retiring after today wouldn't be super surprising though.