New England Patriots

By Ty Anderson,

Thanks to Sunday’s 13-3 Super Bowl LIII victory over the Los Angeles Rams, and with retirement on his mind for the last year plus, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski officially has the ability to go out on top.

But it’s a decision that will take some time, as a seemingly-elated Gronkowski explained after his third Super Bowl victory.

“Tonight, it’s about celebrating with my teammates,” the 29-year-old Gronkowski said in his postgame press conference. “And that decision will be made in a week or two down the future, because that’s what it’s about, celebrating with my teammates, and that’s what I’m worried about tonight.”

Gronkowski’s interest in walking away from football first came to light following last year’s Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and it seemed like a legitimate possibility in what was a rather bizarre offseason of sorts in regards to Gronkowski’s relationship with the Patriots.

Retirement looked like a mere inevitability at various points during the 2018 season, too, as Gronkowski finished the regular season with just 47 grabs for 682 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games. The 6-foot-6 also battled through some significant ankle and back injuries throughout the season, and played through a badly bruised quad on Sunday.

It’s just the most recent laundry list of injuries the 6-foot-6 tight end has battled through for the Patriots, and it would almost make too much sense for Gronkowski to finally decide that enough is enough on his body.

But No. 87 proved he can still shine when the lights are at their brightest, totaling 79 yards on six catches in the AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs, and six catches on seven targets and 87 yards on Sunday.

Still the focus for Gronkowski on Sunday was on the party that awaited he and his teammates, and was set to include head coach Bill Belichick.

“We’re going to have a good time — Bill [Belichick] told me he’s partying tonight, so you know it’s going to be good,” Gronkowski said.

Drafted by the Patriots in 2010, Gronkowski has spent his entire nine-year career with the Patriots, and ranks fourth on the franchise’s all-time list for receptions (521), second in yards (7,861), and first in touchdowns (79).

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 98.5 The Sports Hub. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.