Rob Gronkowski will be back in the NFL spotlight Thursday night, but he won't be suiting up for the New England Patriots in their game against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium.
The veteran tight end is making his NFL on FOX debut as an analyst for their coverage of Thursday's matchup in Foxboro. The sight of Gronkowski on television no doubt will excite Patriots fans who miss the future Hall of Famer. Many of these fans want Gronkowski to come back and play for the Patriots given the team's inability through five games this season to replace anywhere near his old production at tight end.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft was asked on NFL Network before the Thursday's game about a potential return of Gronk, and he didn't completely shut it down.
#Patriots owner Robert Kraft on @nflnetwork just now: "We all love Gronk and I think the bottom line is, he hasn't put his retirement papers in. We can always pray and hope …. That's a good academic argument that there is hope for us still with Gronk." — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 10, 2019
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Hope with Gronk? Interesting, indeed.
Gronkowski has been busy in retirement. In addition to his new television job at FOX Sports, he's also partnered with a CBD company.
Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse have played most of the snaps at tight end for the Patriots this season, and they haven't tallied 10 receptions between them. New England released veteran tight end Benjamin Watson on Monday, and head coach Bill Belichick noted on Tuesday the team intends to keep developing Izzo and LaCosse.
Still, if Gronkowski wanted to play, it's hard to imagine the Patriots would turn him away, especially if he was in good physical shape. But, for now, the idea of Gronkowski returning is a dream and nothing more.
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