During a postgame interview after my once-beloved New England Patriots lost Super Bowl LII to the Philadelphia Eagles, tight end Rob Gronkowski made it clear he’s going to “look at [my] future, for sure.” Every Dunkin Donuts in New England has been buzzing with exceptionally well-informed, occasionally profane speculation about Gronk’s future ever since.
But let’s get real here, regardless of how many more years Sully from Revere loudly proclaims the oft-injured tight end still has: Gronk should retire.
You don’t need to look at Gronk’s injury history to know that football’s rough on the body. He’s suffered two confirmed concussions, two vertebral disc hernias, fractures to his back and his forearm, tears to both his MCL and his ACL, and Bill Belichick knows what the fuck else (source). He’s only twenty-fucking-seven. Gronk’s more banged up than I would be after a Friday night on his party bus.
Plus, he’s already done it all. Gronk’s got two Super Bowl rings and five trips to the Pro Bowl. His 2011 campaign set the records for most touchdown catches (17) and receiving yards (1327) by a tight end in one season. He was the youngest player with three touchdown receptions in a game, the first tight end to lead the league in receiving touchdowns, he holds the Patriots all-time records for career receiving touch downs (76), and I saw him riding a bike once. He’s one of the most successful players of the last decade and probably a Hall of Famer.
“But Scott Colby!” you scream in between crunchy slurps of your extra lahge iced cohffee with extra cream and seven Splendas. “The Gronk’s gonna make ten million dollahs next yeah!” This is true. That’s a big dollar figure to walk away from, but last I checked ten million smackers doesn’t fix your short term memory or guarantee you won’t start randomly pissing yourself when you turn forty-five. Although the Patriots pretty famously stiffed him early in his career, Gronk’s reportedly been very responsible with his earnings. He doesn’t need the money. Dunkin sure as shit isn’t going to drop him as one of its main spokesmen.
And that right there is the rub: Gronk doesn’t need football to make money and have a good time. Party hosts and DJs typically don’t have to deal with blows to the head or ruptured tendons. He’d be fantastic as the face of a game show or a reality show. A run in WWE and a feud with Jinder Mahal practically writes itself and would keep him away from Tom Brady’s weird fitness cult. And I can think of no one better to be the XFL’s first commissioner. He’s a good dude with a fun personality, and I want to see Gronk be Gronk for as long as he can—which is why I think his best option is to walk away before the game that made him permanently breaks him.