Rob Gronkowski's game now is marketing, not football

Rob Gronkowski's game now is marketing, not football

I don’t think Rob Gronkowski is ever going to play for the Patriots again.

Am I sure? Pretty sure.

Even though Gronk keeps cracking open the door, sticking his head in the room, waggling his eyebrows then slinking back out, I believe he's done for good.

But I believe he’s replaced the game of football with the game of marketing and I don’t blame him a bit.

You know he’s playing with us. I know he’s playing with us. Most of all, he knows he’s playing with us.

But he also knows the best way to help his brand is by remaining “retired — BUT MAYBE JUST FOR NOW!!! — NFL superstar Rob Gronkowski.”

That’s why all promotions for Gronk’s Tuesday morning press conference to announce his “next chapter” teased the uncertainty swirling around whether or not he’ll return.

“Will he be announcing that he’s coming back to football in November?!?!?!”

Everyone crowded into the Internet tent to watch the streaming feed and found the answer is … no.


As for football? If he feels passionate again about the game, he’ll play.

And when might that be?

"It could be the case in 6 months, it could be the case in 2 years, it could be in 3 years ... But I truly don't see it in the foreseeable future."

He added, “Physically, I could do it. But mentally, it’s not there. ... If I’m just enjoying my life... maybe never.”

So anywhere between six months and three years. Maybe. Possibly. Not sure.

Keep dangling that carrot in front of our noses. We’ll keep sniffing at it. Don’t you worry.

I don’t fault Gronk a single bit for preying on the hope and gullibility of the media and public.

Gronk Inc. exists because of the talent and sweat equity he put in as a football player. All those injuries and surgeries he withstood from the time he was at the University of Arizona until February? That was the cost of doing business to build a unique brand.

He’s supposed to close up shop and take all the Gronk off the shelves just because he’s not playing in the NFL anymore? Yeah, no.

Now, it’s really time to sell what he built without having to clear it with a coach, an owner or a league office.


Maybe he’ll miss the attention, the camaraderie, the competition.

Maybe he’ll go through part of the 2019 season and hear adulation for players he knows he’s better than and get a little jealous.

Maybe his former teammates will need him and he’ll feel compelled to help them.

Maybe he’ll be able to get his brain around the specter of knowing that, every time he runs down the seam and looks back to see a Tom Brady pass floating his way, what happens next may land him in a hospital bed with a destroyed knee, addled organs or a misfiring brain.

But I don’t think so. I think he’s going to keep being Gronk and hawking painkillers and stay the hell away from the pain. He’s got nothing left to gain.

Brady's take on the challenge of replacing Gronk>>>>>

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Patriots Talk Podcast: Rich Eisen on 'positively absurd' Spygate 2.0

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Patriots Talk Podcast: Rich Eisen on 'positively absurd' Spygate 2.0

Like most of the rest of the NFL world, Rich Eisen of the NFL Network is amazed that we are again talking about what has become known as Spygate 2.0 - the Patriots again being accused of taping an opposing teams' sideline - and the repercussions surrounding it. 

He joined Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast to provide a little national perspective on the controversy and his first reaction was how "positively absurd" it was that the Pats are being accused of the same behavior that they were punished for back in 2007.

"If the Patriots did attempt something like this again, how remarkably brazen it would be," Eisen told Curran. "I couldn't imagine being in that press box and seeing that happen? That's what makes it so positively absurd. How does anybody that represents anything to do with the Patriots not know you're not supposed to shoot the other team's sideline?''

Eisen predicted that the Patriots' admission of a "unintended oversight" in taping the sideline of the Cincinnati Bengals - their opponent this week - while the Bengals were playing the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday, and Bill Belichick's adamant denial of knowing anything about the operation, won't prevent a hefty fine from being leveled by the NFL against the team. 

I'm sure there are a lot of people who are breathing fire at One Patriot Place," Eisen said. "Even if it was a clueless botched operation, I think the Patriots get fined. They still shot video of another teams' sideline and bottom line is that's a no-no, an absolute no-no.

"I'm assuming its a hefty fine for the team that's coming."


Eisen's comments come near the end of the episode and former Patriots backup quarterback Matt Cassel joins Curran earlier and talks about how the original Spygate accusations back in '07 were a motivating factor for a Patriots team that went on to a 16-0 regular season.

"We were shocked at how it took on a life of its own," Cassel recalled. "It honestly was comical the way they took it, with people thinking we had it all figured out, we filmed them and we knew all their signs. The best thing that possibly could've happened is we came out for the rest of the season after the knowledge that Spygate took place and everyone saying 'That's why they won their Super Bowls' and we just dominated." 

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Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots continue to slide in AFC

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Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots continue to slide in AFC

Through 13 weeks, it’s become clear that there are six good teams in the AFC and one very good, maybe great team. The Ravens are a complete team: offense, defense, special teams, coaching, situationally smart, tough, you name it.

Everybody else has the flaw that they’ll either need to cover up or overcome in the playoffs to get past Baltimore.