New England Patriots: Watch out NFL, Rob Gronkowski is ‘excited’ to return

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

After skipping out on organized team activities, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski confirmed he will attend mandatory minicamp.

Oh, remember that retirement talk that dominated the early part of the offseason?  Well, that now seems like ancient news when it comes to New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

On Sunday, the All-Pro tight end confirmed that he will attend the team’s mandatory minicamp this week after being a no show during OTAs this offseason.  While his presence won’t necessarily solve any remaining tension he may or may not have with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, it is a good sign that things will eventually smooth over…at least on the football field.

As of now, the big tight end is all in.

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"“We’ve got mandatory minicamp this week.  So I’ll be there this week.  I’ll be full go,” Gronkowski told reporters during an appearance at the ninth annual Buzz Off charity event at Gillette Stadium, via ESPN.  “I’m looking forward to it.  Can’t wait to get back to work.  I’m excited.”"

That’s quite the 360 from reports that surfaced that Rob Gronkowski did not enjoy himself prior to last season.  The 29-year-old playmaker was coming off back surgery, which probably contributed to his down mode and thoughts of retirement.  There is also this thing called money that may have Gronkowski’s spirits high.

This man is about to get paid 

After committing to the 2018 season back in April, it proved as evidence that all the retirement talk was about a new contract for the NFL’s most dominant tight end.

In 2017, Rob Gronkowski bounced back from the back surgery to lead the New England Patriots with 69 receptions for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.  Most importantly, he displayed a level of dominance on the field that would’ve made it a shame if he retired early from the game.

While there still is no guarantee Gronkowski will play beyond the 2018 season, it is time the Patriots gave the man the type of money he is worth.  Indications do point to an incentive heavy restructure like the one he received in 2017, but an announcement of such a deal haven’t happened yet.

To be optimistic, the fact that he is attending minicamp and not holding out must mean the two sides are close on some kind of deal.  It also means he is feeling good about the team and his situation heading into the season.

What this means for the NFL?

It doesn’t mean anything until a healthy Rob Gronkowski takes the field to start the regular season.  But, for now it means the New England Patriots have one of their top weapons back in the fold.

With a renewed level of “excitement” and a leaner, meaner body, the Patriots’ offense has the making of a more explosive offense in 2018 with the return of Gronk, the expected return of Tom Brady, the return of Julian Edelman and new additions like running back Sony Michel and wide receivers Jordan Matthews and Cordarrelle Patterson.

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Of course, it can all go south fast depending on whether Bill Belichick and the TB12 crew find some sort of compromise.

As of the first full week of June, it looks like Patriots fans finally have the team they recognize back.