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Patriots owners holds out hope for Rob Gronkowski return in 2019 [UPDATE]

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski retired this past year and seems to be enjoying life. Patriots owner Robert Kraft is holding out hope Gronk returns to play in 2019.

Former football player Rob Gronkowski arrives on the red carpet at Microsoft Theatre. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski talks retirement, 8:19 p.m.

Retired tight end Rob Gronkowski made his debut on FOX Sports for Thursday Night Football, and he had a chance to speak about the chatter started by Robert Kraft. Gronk left the door open to returning from retirement. Per USA Today’s Henry McKenna, he said, “I would have to be feeling it -- feeling it big time to come back. It’s always going to be open in my mind.”

We’ll leave “never say never” in the mix, but it still seems unlikely we see Gronk return. Of course, if the Patriots continue rolling and remain the Super Bowl favorite, maybe Gronk returns in late November. It gives him time to tune up for the playoffs and give the Patriots a boost when January arrives. Can we say crazier things have happened?

The New England Patriots are on national TV Thursday evening, and so it’s no surprise owner Robert Kraft is making the media rounds. He made an appearance on NFL Network and threw Patriots fans a bone when it comes to retired tight end Rob Gronkowski. He said he is holding out some hope Gronk decides to unretire and return for a little more football. His quotation via Pro Football Talk:

“We all love Gronk, and I think the bottom line is he hasn’t put his retirement papers in. So we can always pray and hope,” Kraft said. “There is hope for us still with Gronk.”

I imagine this will last for a news cycle or two in the greater Boston area.

Fantasy football analysis, Retired TE Rob Gronkowski

Gronk dealt with all sorts of injuries during his career, so it was no surprise when he hung up his cleats and retired after this past season. There had been rumblings for some time, and this past winter made as much sense as any time.

Anything is possible in the crazy world of the NFL, but it seems highly unlikely Gronk returns. Even without filing his retirement papers, I could honestly just see Gronk not caring enough to do it. You can likely still stash him in fantasy leagues, but you should maintain the absolute lowest of expectations. It’d be an amusing value for you if he returned, but it just doesn’t seem likely to happen.