Rob Gronkowski is really retired, at least this season.
The former tight end of the New England Patriots had threatened to return to NF.L. almost as soon as he announced his retirement in March, a month after helping the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams at the Super Bowl LIII.
Despite a long list of injuries during your nine year career, all spent with New England, Gronkowski said in October that he loved football and would keep the door open to play again someday. The Patriots were also welcoming.
The team owner, Robert K. Kraft, would have told Gronkowski After the retirement announcement, he wanted the tight end back in time for this year's playoffs. For this to happen, Gronkowski had to register the paperwork before Week 13 of the season so that he could be removed from the team's reserve list, but failed to meet the November 30 deadline.
The Patriots (10-2) are tied with the best A.F.C. record but have struggled with a thin receiving corps this season. The team launched former Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown in September and veteran Josh Gordon in October. For many years, Gronkowski was one of quarterback Tom Brady's favorite targets.
If Gronkowski, 30, still wants to return, he will have to wait until the 2020 season at the earliest. Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten followed a similar path, retiring before the 2018 season and returning to play for the team this year after working as an ESPN analyst.
Since leaving the Patriots, Gronkowski has remained in the spotlight. Among other activities, he became a Fox Sports football analyst and pitcher for a company that produces a line of cannabidiol-infused topical painkillers. In an interview with The New York Times in August, he did not rule out a cameo appearance at World Wrestling Entertainment or an appearance on "Dancing With the Stars." He said he had lost about 10 pounds since retiring and was focused on improving his health.
"I have nothing against drinking and I believe there are moments of celebration – 100% – after good days of hard work, or you win a championship," he said. "But I definitely greatly reduced that, which I knew I needed. I'm still really figuring out how bad it was to do the way I was doing. I took the hard way to find it."