I know this isn’t directly Pittsburgh Steelers related but anything that involves the New England Patriots seems forever intertwined with the black and gold. And after all, the two teams face each other in Week One and a playoff matchup is always talked about.
Should the latter occur, and these squads meet in postseason play, the Steelers may be seeing tight end Rob Gronkowski. Again.
According to this report from Pro Football Talk, Gronkowski may return to the Patriots after all. Citing an unnamed source, they speculate there’s a 40 percent change Gronk unretires.
“A source close to Gronkowski pegs his potential for a first annual unretirement at 40 percent.”
They do add, and it’s fairly obvious, that if he returns to the NFL, it’s likely to be later in the season. So the odds of seeing him in Week One are very low. But a playoff game? It seems possible.
Gronkowski refuted some recent photos that showed him appearing to have lost a massive amount of weight. So physically, he may end up being in a good enough place to want to return.
Of course, it’s fair to wonder what kind of NFL player he’ll be. Injuries clearly hampered his play last year, finishing the season with just 47 receptions and three touchdowns. He was a non-factor against the Steelers after being their kryptonite for years, held to just 2 catches and 21 yards in the Patriots’ loss.
Like his personality, his NFL career was there for a good time, not a long time.
But time off would allow him to get healthier and possibly a more impactful player in an unretire scenario. Rejoining the team mid-season and having the chance to help the Pats for another playoff run is attractive to anyone and I can see Tom Brady – who reportedly has worked out with Gronk already this summer – making a convincing case. PFT says Bill Belichick wouldn’t object to the idea either.
“It’s also believed that coach Bill Belichick, who has declined to discuss the hypothetical possibility that Gronkowski will return, will not be an impediment to an unretirement.”
In his career, Gronk caught 41 passes for 685 yards and 8 TDs in the regular season against the Steelers. Those numbers rank 4th against any team. The only three in front are the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills, all three who are divisional opponents.