New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski is focused on dirt bikes for now, remaining noncommittal on questions of whether he'll return to the field this season.
Gronkowski was at the Monster Energy SuperCross event at Gillette Stadium on Saturday when he took questions regarding his future, but the ansers related more to dirt bikes than Patriots.
He first said fans would see a "Freek-a-leek," when asked what he had to say to fans wondering if he'd play. But then said "maybe" if it meant coming back to the Patriots.
He also said he wouldn't be joining the team's upcoming option workouts. Instead he has to focus on his dirt bike skills.
After the Patriots' Super Bowl loss to the Eagles in February, Gronkowski remained noncommittal about his chances of returning to football.
“I don’t know how you heard that,” Gronkowski said, referencing Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio's tweet about Gronk's retirement, “but, I mean, I’m definitely gonna look at my future. We’ll sit down in the next couple of weeks and see where I’m at.”
Later in the month, NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran reported reported that Gronkowski "didn't enjoy himself in 2017."
“He seriously considered stepping away from the game in training camp,” Curran said. “At that point, his body wasn’t responding. He wanted to train a certain way, the team didn’t necessarily want him to train the way he wanted to train. ... The season played out and by the end of it, I don’t think that some of the principal players on this team were really happy with the atmosphere and the climate. ... They still need to have a hell of an air-clearing at Patriot Place to get these guys back.”
Gronkowski is one of the most dominant tight ends of all time when healthy, but he has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2011, his second year in the league. He has dealt with injuries to his arm, knee and, perhaps most notably, his back. Gronk has dealt with back injuries since college and had three surgeries on his back since 2009.
Gronkowski was also diagnosed with his first concussion of his NFL career during the AFC championship game and did not clear the concussion protocol until this past Thursday.
Gronkowski has two years and $17 million remaining on his contract. A five-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl Champion, Gronkowski played in 14 regular season games last season, catching 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.