Patriots

NFL rumors: Patriots' Rob Gronkowski to "strongly consider retirement" after playoffs

NFL rumors: Patriots' Rob Gronkowski to "strongly consider retirement" after playoffs

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski could be playing in his final NFL game Sunday when the Pats host the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC Divisional Round at Gillette Stadium. 

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning that Gronkowski will "strongly consider retirement" whenever the Patriots' playoff run concludes.


The Patriots' long-time fixture is expected to weigh retirement once again, and he may be playing the final games of his likely Hall of Fame career. Just 29-years-old and financially set, Gronkowski nearly retired last season rather than be traded to the Lions and finish his career elsewhere.

Gronkowski told reporters on Dec. 27 that he's "all-in" for 2018 and wasn't thinking about his future.

"I love the grind," Gronkowski said. "I'm all-in. I've been all-in all season. No matter if it's been up, if it's been down. I'm gonna tell you this right now: I'm gonna be all-in the rest of the year no matter what it is. That's just my main focus, no matter how it goes."

The 29-year-old veteran has battled many injuries throughout his career, and his physical, bruising style of play certainly doesn't bode well for him aging gracefully. He missed three games this season, two last season and eight during the 2016 campaign. Gronkowski hasn't played a full 16-game slate since his rookie and sophomore seasons.

Gronkowski caught 47 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season. He showed flashes of dominant play, most notably in the Patriots' thrilling 43-40 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6 and a Week 14 loss to the Miami Dolphins, but overall he was much more inconsistent compared to recent seasons.

Gronkowski was not on the injury report in the week entering Sunday's playoff game against the Chargers and played the final the seven games of the regular season. He was largely ineffective over the last three weeks, though, totaling four receptions for 45 yards and zero touchdowns in those games combined.

The Patriots will need a productive Gronkowski as both a pass-catcher and blocker Sunday against a very good Chargers defense.

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NFL Power Rankings: How the AFC stacks up after Week 6

NFL Power Rankings: How the AFC stacks up after Week 6

I’ve always felt Columbus Day is the general line of demarcation in an NFL season. The sample size has gotten big enough so that teams know what’s an actual strength or weakness and not a false positive. Nobody’s a finished product by any stretch but this next stretch between now and Thanksgiving is when reality kicks in for pretty much everyone. For a lot of teams in the AFC, it already has.

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Patriots work out free agent receiver Quincy Adeboyejo and cornerback Lenzy Pipkins ahead of Week 7

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Patriots work out free agent receiver Quincy Adeboyejo and cornerback Lenzy Pipkins ahead of Week 7

Ahead of their Week 7 matchup against the Jets, the Patriots reportedly worked out free agent wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo and cornerback Lenzy Pipkins, according to Howard Balzer.

Adeboyejo, a 6'3, 197-pound wideout from Ole Miss, went undrafted in 2017 and spent a season on the Ravens practice squad before getting waived with a non-football injury designation.

He then caught on with the Jets late in training camp this year but was cut nine days after he signed. Adeboyejo played four seasons at Ole Miss, totaling over 1,400 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. His best season was his junior year in 2015, where he caught 38 passes for 604 yards and seven touchdowns. He did run a 4.43 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Draft Combine, so if the Patriots are looking for a speed threat on the outside, he could theoretically stretch a defense. 

Pipkins is another undrafted free agent from the 2017 NFL Draft. The 25-year-old corner played three seasons at the University of Louisiana Monroe before he transferred to Oklahoma State for his final collegiate season. 

Pipkins then spent the 2017 season on the Packers and recorded six tackles in his debut. He was then traded to the Colts, released and claimed off waivers by the Lions, waived again and then signed with the Browns practice squad at the end of the 2018 season. Pipkins was cut by the Browns at the end of this year's training camp. 

It's unlikely the Patriots sign either player, but they do have a need at wide receiver and Bill Belichick has a history of snagging former Browns players, so they're at least doing their due diligence to possibly find another diamond in the rough. 

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