Rob Gronkowski may have retired, but he encouraged Julian Edelman to return.
The New England Patriots welcomed Edelman to their Las Vegas joint practice with the Raiders as a special guest. He said he "brought my cleats to the desert just in case."
Upon seeing his former teammate's Twitter post, Gronkowski prodded Edelman to "make a comeback!"
"You said if I come back…. Then you’ll come back," Edelman replied.
The exchange teased Patriots fans eager to see two former Super Bowl champions back in action as well as Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans hoping they'd reunite with Tom Brady for one last ride.
Gronkowski came out of retirement two years ago to join Brady in Tampa Bay. Earlier this year, Brady quickly reversed course on his exit plans to stay with the Buccaneers.
Perhaps returning from retirement is a rite of passage for Edelman to complete next.
The former seventh-round pick recorded a career-high 1,117 receiving yards in 2019, but he retired after knee injuries limited him to six games the following year. While his practice visit spurred hope from Gronkowski and others, the 36-year-old is now keeping busy with a new podcast.
Even if their Twitter conversation was only tongue in cheek, Edelman and Gronk have provided fans a slither of hope.