Gronkowski shoots down return chatter: ‘It’s a no’

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was quite definitive on Tuesday about his plans to remain retired, despite recent speculation to the contrary.

Asked by a caller on WEEI radio for a yes-no answer on possibly returning, Gronkowski replied, “I’ll give an answer. When I retired, I retired for a reason: Because I needed to step away. So it would be a no. There it is.”

Gronkowski said in his debut as a FOX Sports analyst last Thursday that he would “always keep the door open,” but added, “I would have to be feeling it, feeling it big time to come back.”

Those comments came on the same day that owner Robert Kraft said the team can “pray and hope” Gronkowski returns. Quarterback Tom Brady said Monday he won’t try to recruit Gronkowski out of retirement.

Gronkowski acknowledged Tuesday that he hasn’t completely slammed the door in the past, but he feels settled in retirement.

“I never say no, because I’ve said no, and everyone’s like, ‘Yeah, he’s kidding. He’s coming back,'” Gronkowski said. “But it’s a no. In my mind, that’s how it is. It’s a no.

“… I’m very satisfied where I’m at. I say it all the time: I would have never left the game if I was going to be itching every single day. I’ve said that before, many times. I had those thoughts, too. ‘Would I be missing it?’ And I just knew that it needed to be done. I’m very satisfied where I’m at.”

Gronkowski played for the Patriots from 2010-18, and his 79 touchdown receptions are the most all-time by a New England receiver. His 7,861 receiving yards are second all-time for the Patriots behind Stanley Morgan (10,352).

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)