When Rob "Gronk" Gronkowski retired from the NFL earlier this year, the 30-year-old did what a lot of former players do — he became a football analyst.
It’s only been a month since the popular New England Patriots tight end made his debut on Fox Sports during the network’s Thursday Night Football pregame coverage, but his new gig hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing.
What happened to Gronk on Fox?
He may be used to playing in front of thousands of screaming fans, but the athlete isn’t a natural broadcaster. After his Oct. 10 introduction, Gronk was criticized for spouting out weak commentary and struggling to stay within frame. However, what he lacked in polish, he made up for in energy and charisma.
It sounds like Fox is well aware of the New York native’s strengths and weaknesses. Reports suggest that Gronk will be featured in mostly taped segments moving forward.
Though he's wearing more suits than pads these days, football enthusiasts are still eager to know whether the three-time Super Bowl champ has plans to return to the Patriots in the future.
During his first day on the job at Fox Sports, Gronk’s co-host, Terry Bradshaw, asked him point blank: "Does that mean football’s out now, you’re never going back? Because I know you didn’t sign that closure contract."
The University of Arizona grad replied, "I would have to be feeling it, you know, feeling it big time to come back. It’s always going to be open in my mind."
He added, "I love the game of football, you know, I love playing the game, I love being around the game, I even love watching the game of football now... the appreciation of watching it, seeing the hits, seeing the glory of it, you understand the game so much more, the fans of the game so much more."
In response to a question about how his current salary compares to his NFL paydays, Gronk admitted, "I’ll tell you this. To get a deal done here was a lot easier than getting a deal done with the Patriots."
Tom Brady isn’t convinced fans will see a Gronk comeback.
The famed quarterback recently hinted that his former teammate’s retirement is likely permanent. "I am really good friends with Gronk. We have had a great relationship for 10 years," the 42-year-old told Boston’s WEEI.
But, he added, "Just because things are reported doesn't necessarily mean they are always true."
Meanwhile, Patriots owner Robert Kraft has openly expressed his desire to see Gronk return to the field as early as this month. "We all love Gronk and I think the bottom line is he hasn't put his retirement papers in," the billionaire businessman said. "We can always pray and hope."
Despite differing reports, Gronk reminded everyone that he hung up his cleats for a reason. "I played football for 14 years, nonstop, in and out," he explained on Good Morning America in August. "I’ve been relaxing, letting my body heal. I still love to be active, [but] now it’s time to go out there and venture off."