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Jul 10, 2019; Los Angeles, CA: Former football player Rob Gronkowski arrives on the red carpet at Microsoft Theatre. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Rob Gronkowski is starting a new chapter in his life, but isn’t closing the book entirely on football.

The former (future?) Patriots announced on Tuesday a new partnership with Abacus Health to help launch a new line of CBD products from CBDMEDIC. Gronkowski hopes his new business venture opens the door for the NFL to allow players to use CBD to aid injury recovery and pain management.

But of course, he was inevitably going to be asked about playing football again. And that’s another door he left open.

“I truly believe I can get to another level with my body, and I’m just in the first stage right now,” Gronkowski said. “When that time comes down in the future, if I have the desire to play football again, if I feel passionate about football again, if I’m feeling like I need to go back on the field, I will go back to football. But as of right now, that is not the case.

“It could be the case in six months, it could be the case in two years, it could be the case in three years, it could be the case in three months. But I truly don’t see it in the foreseeable future, in like a week or a month. No. I want to do a different chapter of my life right now.”

Oct 14, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Gronkowski’s lack of definitive closure on football, it certainly sounds like he will at least take the 2019 season off. Then he will officially be unsigned at the start of the 2020 league year, and you can expect speculation to spike at that time again.

Gronkowski detailed the extreme physical and mental toll football had taken on him in recent years, noting that it had taken the away his passion for the game that he feels he needs to regain in order to even consider returning. Physically, Gronk feels like he could return today if he wanted. It’s more of a psychological battle for him.

CBD remains a banned substance in the NFL, considered under the umbrella of hemp products. But CBD is purely a medical product, containing no THC and causing no psychoactive effects. CBDMEDIC touts mostly all-natural pain relief products including sticks, creams, ointments, and sprays to help with pain management. It also makes skin care products for conditions such as acne and eczema.

Gronk credits CBD for helping him get to a pain-free level in his body for the first time in years. So while he obviously won’t rule out returning to the NFL, he certainly seems content right now without going through the same cycle of physical and mental stress associated with pro football.

If CBDMEDIC takes off as a business, that may make Gronk’s decision to stay away from football a lot easier. For now, the speculation will continue. But if Gronk does make a triumphant return, it remains unrealistic that it would happen in 2019.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.

Note: This was updated for clarification on Rob Gronkowski’s partnership with CBDMEDIC.