Minneapolis — Arguably the most dominant tight end in NFL history might be calling it a career after eight seasons.
Following the New England's 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski wouldn’t commit to returning in 2018.
“I don’t know where you heard that, but I mean, I'm definitely going to look at my future, for sure,” Gronkowski said when asked about rumors of his possible retirement. “I’m going to sit down the next couple weeks and see where I’m at.”
Gronkowski, 28, starred in the losing effort, catching nine passes for 116 yards and two second-half touchdowns. He was targeted 15 times, more than any other Patriots player.
A second-round pick out of Arizona in 2010, Gronkowski has spent his entire career with the Patriots. He quickly developed into the league’s best tight end, earning first-team All-Pro honors four times. He’s topped 1,000 yards receiver four times and double-digit touchdowns on five occasions.
But he’s also battled a number of injuries. He entered the league with a back issue, which required surgery and cost him the 2009 season. That had him left off some teams’ draft boards. Then, in 2012 and 2013, he required multiple procedures on his forearm and still wears a massive, protective brace to shield it from further damage.
He’s also had two additional back surgeries, as well as knee and ankle surgeries, during his pro career.
If Gronkowski decides to hang them up, he would join a growing group of players who have retired early in recent years, including wide receiver Calvin Johnson, running back Marshawn Lynch, 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, offensive tackle Anthony Davis and guard John Urschel.
Lynch came back to play for the Raiders this season, after a one-year absence.
Gronkowski said concern about concussions aren’t a factor in his thought process, and didn’t want to go into it more than that.
“We just lost,” he said. “I just want to sit back, relax the next couple week. Really, I’ve got nothing to say about that right now.”