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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Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

The New England Patriots added even more depth to an elite group of cornerbacks Sunday by acquiring Michael Jackson in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

Jackson, who's listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2019. The Detroit Lions signed him off the Cowboys practice squad last season and he played in one game for the NFC North team.

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Here's an updated look at the Patriots' cornerback depth chart with Jackson in the fold:

--Stephon Gilmore
--Jason McCourty
--J.C. Jackson
--Jonathan Jones
--Joejuan Williams
--Michael Jackson
--Myles Bryant
--D’Angelo Ross

It should be noted that Justin Bethel is listed at cornerback, but most of his snaps come on special teams. 

A strong case could be made that cornerback is the deepest position on the Patriots roster. The group is led by Stephon Gilmore, who became the first Patriot ever to win the AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019. Gilmore is the league's best cornerback and has earned first team All-Pro selections in back-to-back seasons. 

He's not the only talented cornerback in the Patriots secondary, though. 

J.C. Jackson excelled in coverage last season, too, especially on passes beyond 20 yards. In fact, Jackson had the lowest passer rating allowed when targeted of all cornerbacks in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus.

One of the most intriguing players in the Patriots secondary is second-year cornerback Joejuan Williams. He was a second-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2019 but saw limited playing time as a rookie.

The depth of the Patriots defense has been hit hard in recent months due to free agent departures and veterans opting out of the 2020 season amid concerns over COVID-19. One position that has remained largely intact is cornerback, and barring any significant injuries, it could be the team's most productive position this coming season.

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

The New England Patriots have added another cornerback to their depth chart.

On Sunday, they announced they've acquired Michael Jackson from the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed 2022 draft pick.

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Jackson was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft (158th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys out of Miami. He started his rookie season on Dallas' practice squad before being signed by Detroit.

The 23-year-old played in only one game last season for the Lions.

Jackson joins a Patriots cornerback group that currently consists of Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, D'Angelo Ross, Justin Bethel, and Myles Bryant.