Despite undergoing eight surgeries in his NFL career, 27-year-old New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has no plans to retire any time soon.
During an interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion, Gronk said there is “no doubt” he’ll be ready to rock and roll for the start of the 2017 season. When asked how much longer he’s going to keep playing in the league, he said: “I’m not really sure. I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I can possibly play. My mindset is to keep on going.”
Last season Gronkowski missed eight regular season games and had to watch from the sideline as the Pats won their fifth Super Bowl title. He suffered a season-ending back injury that ended up requiring surgery (his third back surgery since 2009). This marked the fifth straight year in which he failed to play all 16 games due to injury.
When healthy, there aren’t many offensive playmakers that can affect a defense like Gronkowski. He’s a nightmare matchup, at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, and is one of the most dangerous red-zone scorers in the NFL. Through 88 career games and 75 starts, he’s hauled in 405 passes for 6,095 yards and an astonishing 68 touchdowns. A rushing score has his career total sitting at a magical 69 (a number he just cannot get enough of these days).
Because of his many injuries, it’s not hard to wonder if Gronkowski’s career is going to be one we always wonder “what if.” Because if he had stayed healthy to this point, he’d already be well on his way to 100 touchdowns and is still at the age where he could potentially play twice as long.