New England Patriots

MIAMI, FL – DECEMBER 09: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts in the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

There’s a real chance that Sunday against the Chargers is Rob Gronkowski’s final game in Foxborough.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting on Sunday that Gronkowski has not had a change of heart about his future, and will once again weigh retirement after the 2018 season.

Rapoport added that 2018 has taken an “emotional toll” on Gronkowski, in addition to the physical toll with the ankle and back injuries he’s dealt with for much of the season.

Gronkowski made just 3.6 catches per game in 2018, the third-lowest average of his career, and his lowest yards per game (52.5) since his rookie year in 2010. His three receiving touchdowns were a career-low for him in any season with at least 11 games played.

The four-time All-Pro tight end admitted during the 2018 offseason that he contemplated retirement after the 2017 season. Rumors swirled about career transitions into acting or professional wrestling. Multiple reports also indicated that the Patriots nearly traded Gronkowski to the Lions, but the tight end blocked the trade from happening due to his desire to only play for Tom Brady.

Rapoport believes that there’s a strong possibility of Gronkowski going in the other direction this offseason, and officially deciding to step away from football for good. This news isn’t terribly surprising to anyone who’s followed Gronkowski over the past year, but it’s certainly notable that he hasn’t changed his mind about playing longer.

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