Rob Gronkowski credits head trauma for early retirement


By Matt Boecker

DeKALB — Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski spoke out about his retirement and why he decided to walk away from football at only 29 in March of 2019.

During his playing career, Gronkowski was one of the most dominant tight ends in football. According to Pro Football Reference, he finished with 7,861 receiving yards, which ranks 12 among all active NFL players.

The three time Super Bowl champion and five time Pro Bowler has battled a long list of injuries all over his body throughout his nine year career.

The tight end ultimately left the NFL due to the mental toll it took on him.

“Football was bringing me down and I didn’t like it. I was losing that joy in life,” Gronkowski said at an event where he urged professional sports leagues to re-evaluate their stance on CBD use for injury recovery. 

Gronkowski would go on to detail his feelings the night of the Patriots Super Bowl victory over the Los Angeles Rams on February 3, 2019. In the game, Gronkowski suffered a quad injury that caused major internal bleeding. Despite this, Gronkowski pushed himself to finish the game for his team.

When talking about his feelings the night of the game and the weeks following, Gronk said he struggled sleeping.

“I slept for five minutes that night,” Gronkowski said. ”I couldn’t even think. I was in tears in my bed after a Super Bowl victory, and then for four weeks I couldn’t even sleep for more than 20-minutes a night.”

Since his retirement, much speculation has taken place about Gronkowski’s potential return to football. At the event, Gronkowski said, “Physically, I’ll be ready. I could play right now if I wanted to play.”

Gronk’s decision to return could depend on the NFL’s future stance on allowing players to use CBD. At the event, Gronkowski mentioned that he is now pain free for the first time in a decade thanks to CBD. 

It is wrong for anyone to speculate on Gronk’s decision to return. Media members and fans sometimes view athletes only for their worth on the field and don’t consider the affects a sport like football has on an athlete’s body.

Gronk is just one person on the ever growing list of star football players to call it quits at the peak of their career due to injuries. The former Patriot is followed by the likes of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who has suffered numerous leg injuries.

Former San Francisco 49er Chris Borland retired after his rookie season, crediting head trauma as the reason for hanging his cleats. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has had to relearn how to walk after a spinal injury left him with little chance to walk again.

It’s respectable for Gronkowski to make the decision to retire knowing the backlash he may receive for it. It is a life altering decision that will only benefit his health.