Patriots

Report: Rob Gronkowski's back injury a factor in retirement, potential return

Report: Rob Gronkowski's back injury a factor in retirement, potential return

Rob Gronkowski played through a lot of pain last year. And if he decides to come out of retirement, he'll likely have to do the same.

It's been widely reported that injuries played a factor in the New England Patriots tight end's decision to step away from football at age 29. Among those injuries was a bulging disc in Gronkowski's back that NFL Media's Mike Giardi reported might need surgery at some point this offseason.

In his column Monday for The MMQB, Albert Breer confirmed Gronkowski's back injury played a role in his retirement decision and could dissuade him from attempting a comeback:

One reason why Gronkowski scuffled through 2018 was a mid-season battle with a bulging disk in his back. By the end of the year, it was no longer a factor. But I’m told that knowing how close he might have been to a fourth back surgery, and the implications that could have down the line, was one factor in his decision to retire.

So just logically, it’d be hard to imagine that concern would go away at 30 years old. Or, at the very least, would be one mental hurdle he’d have to clear if he were to come back again.

Gronkowski already has undergone three back surgeries and spoke openly this past season about the punishment his body has taken. Some current and former NFL players refuse to believe Gronk is done playing, but the affable All-Pro seems to be enjoying post-retirement life, with WWE cameos and appearances at Boston sporting events occupying part of his time.

In short: Gronk had good reason to retire, and while the door isn't totally shut on his 2019 return, it seems like he'd need a very good reason to suit up again.

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Terrell Owens 'would love to talk to (Antonio Brown) personally'

Terrell Owens 'would love to talk to (Antonio Brown) personally'

Antonio Brown is no longer a member of the New England Patriots and declared that he is done with the NFL in a tweetstorm on Sunday morning. But it seems that the NFL might not quite be done with him.

There have been rumors that several teams would be interested in signing Brown pending his legal situation. And now, one of the best receivers in the NFL history, Terrell Owens, is expressing an interest in talking with him amid his recent issues on and off the field.

"I would love to talk to (Antonio Brown) personally," Owens said recently, per Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area. "We all go through life and we are going to make mistakes. They are going to be things that we look back upon. I am sure he will get to that point in his life but he has to do what’s best for himself. I understand to a degree what he’s doing and what’s going on with him."

Owens, of course, had numerous run-ins with his coaches and the media over the course of his NFL career. His flamboyant personality and propensity for showboating did get him an excess of media attention, so from that perspective, he understands Brown.

Owens would go on to say that anything he shares with Brown would be "private" and that he viewed Brown as innocent until proven guilty.

"If I share anything with Antonio it will be in private," Owens said. "Antonio is a good friend of mine it is unfortunate what is going on. I will say the guy is innocent until proven guilty just even with everything that has transpired with him."

We'll see if anything comes out of Owens' attempts to connect with Brown. Either way, Brown is no longer with the Patriots after his antics and it remains to be seen if another NFL team will actually be willing to take a chance on him.

Best and worst from Patriots' win over Jets>>>

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Phillip Dorsett believes he caught the target/reception streak-ending pass vs Jets

Phillip Dorsett believes he caught the target/reception streak-ending pass vs Jets

Phillip Dorsett came into Sunday's matchup with the Jets holding a Patriots franchise-best streak of consecutive targets caught. Developing trust with Tom Brady is paramount for any receiver on this team, and if Dorsett's 23-target reception streak proved anything, it was that Brady could trust him. 

Dorsett extended his streak to 26 straight targets caught with two short gainers and a 25-yard touchdown against the Jets, but the streak ended in controversial fashion during the third quarter. 

Attempting to convert on third down, Brady threw a low pass to Dorsett that the wide receiver managed to corral for a first down. However, the pass was called incomplete and the ruling was upheld after further review. 

After the game, Dorsett explained how he thought he made the catch, but he was more upset the ruling cost his team a third-down conversion. 

Dorsett finished with six catches on the day for 53 yards and a touchdown, increasing his impressive season totals to 13 catches for 187 yards and three touchdowns. As Dorsett and Josh Gordon continue to come into their own with Brady, the Patriots offense should find the task of replacing Rob Gronkowski a bit easier.

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