On New Year's Day, Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady were enjoying their time together on the same roster as if it was any other season. However, when the quarterback originally retired just weeks later, no one was saying that Gronkowski would find a way to hang up his cleats first.
But that is what has occurred. Now, some are looking for answers and others are calling the retirement temporary. One NFL analyst outlined the simple reason behind the retirement and speculated about when the league could see a return. Speaking on the Pro Football Talk PM podcast, Mike Florio blamed money over the tight end's decision:
"Look, I really do think money is at the core of this decision by Gronk to retire I think he doesn't want to play for eight, nine, 10 million, I think he should at least get 15 million given what receivers are now making and I think he probably thinks that and he knows he can't say it."
He continued, revealing his bet for when the tight end would next put on the shoulder pads:
"I know I said that earlier this week. [I] still believe it now. Nothing's changed over the last couple of days. I will say after Thanksgiving [he'll return]. Put me down for after Thanksgiving. And because he's a free agent, there's no deadline and when he needs to return, he can sign with anyone at any time."
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski through the years
So far, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have largely been a package deal. With the exception of the tight end's one-year retirement after the 2017 season, the quarterback and tight end have shared a roster for every season since Gronkowski was drafted.
He entered the picture in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft, ten years into Brady's career. Since then, the duo have played in five Super Bowls and gone 3-2 in those championship bouts.
During his career, the tight end had four seasons in which he earned at least 1,000 yards. His final season, 2021, ranks higher than six other seasons in his career. Of course, many of his prime years were cut short due to injuries.
However, looking at what he did in 2020, one could argue that he was trending up, despite being over 30 years old. At 33, he is well within the typical retirement age, leading many to assume this is the true end of his career.
As retirement seems anything but certain these days, the question still remains: Will Gronkowski return for one last ride this season?
If you use any of the above quotes, please credit Pro Football Talk PM podcast and H/T Sportskeeda.