Tom Brady said after the loss in Super Bowl LII that he expects to return in 2018, but one of his favorite teammates needs more time to make the same decision.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was surprised by a question asking if he will continue to play football, but he certainly didn't shoot down the idea of possibly retiring following the 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I don’t know how you heard that," Gronkowski said. "But I am definitely going to look at my future for sure. I am going to sit down the next couple of weeks and, uh, see where I am at."
Gronkowski, who turns 29 in May, has had a brilliant but injury-riddled career. He was knocked out of the AFC championship game in the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars and was not cleared to play in the Super Bowl until the Thursday prior to Sunday's kickoff.
After a slow first half with only one catch for 9 yards, Gronkowski was brilliant after halftime. Brady missed an open Gronkowski on the first pass of the third quarter but connected four times on the drive for 64 yards, capping the drive with a 5-yard score. Gronkowski finished the game with nine catches for 116 yards and two TDs.
Is it possible this was his final game — in what should be the prime of his career?
"I am not ready for these types of questions right now," Gronkowski said. "I am just going to sit down, reflect on the season, probably talk to my teammates.
"We fought all year long — receivers, running backs, linemen. We put all the work in together. So I am just going to reflect on the season. I am proud of the boys and [I’ll] see what happens."
The Patriots might not lose Brady, and Bill Belichick should be back for another season. But there will be losses to the coaching staff and to some key players. The question is whether Gronkowski will be one of them — and it would be nothing short of stunning if he was.