James White didn't know how right he was.
"There's only one Gronk," he said. "You can't replace that personality."
You can add to that list of Rob Gronkowski's irreplaceable qualities, such as his hands, his route-running, his run-after-catch talent and his ability as a blocker. Now that he's retired, the Patriots will have to figure out a way to move on without all those things he brought to the table.
The question is, what happens if he decides to un-retire?
The idea has been bandied about since Gronkowski announced on Instagram that he was hanging 'em up. His agent Drew Rosenhaus openly discussed the possibility. Gronkowski recently joked with NFL Network's Rich Eisen that he might make himself available late in the season if Tom Brady asked. And Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio recently had a source put the odds of a Gronkowski return at 40 percent.
"With open arms, I'm sure," said Devin McCourty, who was taken by the Patriots in the first round of the same draft class when Gronkowski went in the second back in 2010.
"For us as players, we don't have time to think about that. I think at the end of the day, he'll do what's best for him. Anyone who comes into this locker room is welcomed with open arms. Whether it's from retirement, from your eighth team, it doesn't matter. We accept all guys. We took my brother last year and he struggled for nine years in the NFL. You talk about a guy like Gronk coming back, I think that'd be a lot easier."
McCourty wasn't necessarily lobbying for Gronkowski to make his way back to One Patriot Place, though. Even if the team's depth chart at tight end - which added veteran Lance Kendricks on Wednesday - would benefit from an infusion of talent.
"He's looking like he's having an awesome time on Instagram," McCourty said. "Really happy for him to have a great career and leave the game on your own terms, so we'll see how it works out for us."
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