The allure of the NFL was too much for Jason Witten, whose retirement lasted all of 10 months before he returned to the Dallas Cowboys this offseason.
Will Rob Gronkowski follow in Witten's footsteps?
Witten obviously can't read Gronkowski's mind. His situation also is different than Gronkowski's in that he was motivated to return by a lack of Super Bowl titles, while Gronk went out on top with the New England Patriots in February.
But the veteran Cowboys tight end can share this: Stepping away from football wasn't easy for him, and likely won't be easy for the 30-year-old Gronkowski.
"What I do know about him is he’s the ultimate competitor, he loves football, so it’s going to be hard," Witten recently told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. "It’s hard to fill that void, knowing you can still do it."
Gronkowski battled injuries last season but still managed 47 catches and 647 receiving yards in 13 games. So, if Witten can find a spot on the Cowboys at age 37 after spending a year in ESPN's "Monday Night Football" booth, Gronkowski certainly could perform at a high level on the Patriots if he so chose.
“Look, this is a young man’s game, and father time catches up with all of us. But while you can still do it, and he certainly can, he’s going to have to find things that fill that," Witten said.
" … A lot of guys I’ve seen in my career that played at a high level and were done, they moved on, never thought another day about it. I know he’s got a lot of opportunities, but I’m sure he’ll miss it, because he’s the ultimate competitor."
Gronkowski has other opportunities in the hopper -- he'll reveal one of them Tuesday during a press conference in New York -- but Witten isn't alone in thinking the retired tight end may get the football itch once the 2019 season begins.
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