Rob Gronkowski has opened up on his decision to retire and how the physical and mental tolls brought him to that point.
The former Patriots tight end fought back tears when he said he was mentally and physically exhausted after the Super Bowl while he was at a summit advocating for players to be allowed to used CBD oil for pain.
“I want to be clear to my fans. I needed to recover. I was not in a good place. Football was bringing me down, and I didn’t like it. I was losing that joy in life,” Gronkowski told the crowd, via ESPN.
Gronkowski surprised many when he retired from the NFL in March at the age of 29. He said a quad injury he sustained during Super Bowl 53 against the Rams was what pushed him over the edge.
“I got done with the game and I could barely walk,” he said. “I slept five minutes that night. I couldn’t even think. I was in tears in my bed after a Super Bowl victory. It didn’t make that much sense to me. And then, for four weeks, I couldn’t even sleep for more than 20 minutes a night. I was like, ‘Damn, this sucks.’ It didn’t feel good,” Gronkowski said.
“It was one of the biggest, deepest thigh bruises I’ve ever gotten.”
Gronkowski also noted that the thigh bruise was so severe he had internal bleeding in his leg. His decision to open up about the physical and mental strains of football coincides with Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s decision to walk away from the game at 29 due to the same reasons.
Despite his early retirement, Gronkowski said he’s happy where he is in life and that he’s looking forward to seeing where his trajectory goes.
“I truly believe going through those tough times, nine years — off the field, on the field — has brought me to this point and I believe I’m on the right path in my life,” he said.
“It’s a purpose to have passion in my life, to have joy in my life. And then to inspire optimal health within myself, I need to do that in order to get to a peak and then I can bring it to other people. Because I know [in] the NFL, players are dealing with that kind of stuff, they’re dealing with pain. I was. And I needed to walk away because I needed to do what was best for myself.”
As for un-retirement, Gronkowski said he’s not completely saying no, but added that mentally, he’s unable to get back into the game at this point.