Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski retired from the NFL in March, but it sounds like he might have first contemplated stepping away from the game as far back as the summer of 2017.

In the latest episode of HBO's "The Shop" on Tuesday night, Gronkowski talks about his retirement and how an experience in 2017 impacted his outlook on football.

"I would say about two years ago there was, like, a game-changer in my life where I was trying to go out to the practices during the summer, and I was getting smoked by every rookie," Gronkowski said when asked what made him figure out 2018 would be his last season. "I felt in order to do something bigger in life, in order to get to a higher stage -- because you're winning the Super Bowl -- I felt I had to get away from the game and focus on my health."

Check out the rest of Gronkowski's comments in the video below:

Gronkowski announced a partnership with a CBD company last week, and while he hasn't completely shut the door on making a return to football at some point, the future Hall of Famer seems content with his decision. 

The physical toll pro football takes on players is immense, and especially for a player like Gronkowski, who was at his best when running over opponents and gaining extra yards after lots of contact. 


Gronkowski dealt with many injuries and went through several surgeries in his pro career, and now in retirement he can focus on getting his health to a comfortable place again.

Gronk offers great retirement advice to Andrew Luck>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device