By Hannah Scanlan
Much like his rough and tumble play style, Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski’s career has been quite the show. However, it is only so long that a player can play rough before the tumble starts to set in. Gronk has seen a decently grim spell of injuries throughout his time with the Patriots that have left him sidelined and forced the Patriots to show their true offensive prowess without a star receiver. With the end of his contract fast approaching it is concerning for the future of the Patriot’s offense. The fact that he is a franchise player means his passing affects not only the player, but the franchise as well. The drama surrounding Gronk potentially places the New England Patriots on the brink of the end of an era of powerhouse football.
Gronkowski has suffered numerous injuries throughout his football career; however, his lingering injury is his back. The problem first started in 2009 when he had pain going down his legs and needed to get a microdiscectomy, causing him to miss his junior year at the University of Arizona. As a Patriot he has now had three back surgeries including his second microdiscectomy in 2013 when he suffered a vertebral fracture. His latest back surgery was done in 2016 due to a herniated disc. Having three lumbar surgeries by the age of 27 is not a good sign for the future of Gronkowski’s professional football career. With Gronk’s massive size, heart, and physicality for the game, he cannot help getting injured. In the 2018 season Gronkowski continued to suffer with injuries forcing him to sit out in a game against the Chicago Bears. The Patriots offense was not the same without Gronk and his touchdown spikes that game.
Gronk loves playing for the Patriots and plans to play for them as long as he can. Recently, there were rumors going around that the Patriots were going to trade him to the Detroit Lions. Gronk’s initial reaction was retirement because he said he would rather retire than play for anyone else. When an ESPN reporter asked him about being traded, his response was, “Brady’s my quarterback. That’s all. I’m not going anywhere without Brady.”
If Gronk decides to retire in the next few years, who knows how much longer the superstar quarterback will continue to play. Brady is one of the oldest quarterbacks still playing in the NFL. The dynamic duo, Brady and Gronk, have won multiple NFL Super Bowls together with their great chemistry on and off the field. With two of the New England Patriots most valuable players looking towards retirement soon, it is uncertain who will be next to step up and continue the winning culture for the Patriots.