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‘I’m not likely retired’: Former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski embraces next stage – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Blog


ORLANDO, Fla. — He paces the hallway just after 6:45 a.m., rigorously studying the day’s script. But when it’s time for Rob Gronkowski to perform, it’s not running routes or catching passes from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, it’s acting in a television industrial for USAA.

Situated in a makeshift dog park at Universal Studios theme park, Gronkowski delivers his lines together with his beloved French bulldog, Ralphie, in his lap while one among the crew members quietly whispers, “He’s getting slightly sweat on his brow.”

That’s when the reinforcements — two makeup artists — are available in, while Ralphie gets some shade and a fast drink.

One makeup artist powders Gronkowski’s face, while the opposite one gives him a recent gray shirt to vary into. As Ralphie is whisked off for water and a fast break within the shade, Gronkowski and the director, Kreg Lauterbach, go backwards and forwards on whether to say “dog” or “doggie.”

Rob Gronkowski sits on set together with his dog, Ralphie, at Universal Studios while taping a industrial for USAA on Tuesday. Photo by Jenna Laine

“It’s quite a bit more fancy on this industry,” said Gronkowski, who turned 33 in May. “It’s just grind, grind, grind, in football, and out here it’s prefer it’s like you are like a supermodel or something.

“I don’t need to be in good condition in any respect. I got people feeding me, and if I’m slow, I’m slow. It doesn’t matter if I’m quick or not. So it’s wonderful.”

After announcing his retirement and doubling down on it two weeks ago after 11 seasons within the NFL — nine with the Latest England Patriots and two with the Buccaneers — Gronkowski now has his sights set on recent endeavors, forsaking a legacy guaranteed to land him within the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Establishing his identity away from football — even amid criticism he was too free spirited and an excessive amount of of a partier early on — helped Gronkowski cultivate projects in television and entertainment. He has appeared in television shows, reminiscent of “Entourage” and “Family Guy”; placed on mega parties, like “Gronk Beach” at Super Bowl LIV in Miami; and done ads for USAA, Tide, Lyft, Cheerios, Nike, Dunkin’ Donuts, T-Mobile, Body Armour and JetBlue. His personality guarantees many more opportunities.

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“Gronk knows his brand,” said Maxinne Gonzalez, USAA director of video production. “I believe Gronk knows the persona. He knows himself thoroughly and delivers that. And I believe people resonate with that.”

In response to Gronkowski, he gets a handful of requests every couple of months from firms taken with him representing their brands.

“He’s really good at what he does,” Lauterbach said. “He brings an energy level, that even in the recent sun, we’re working with babies and dogs, and there’s challenges in those. He keeps the spirits lifted on it.”

As he continues his work in commercials, Gronkowski may even appear within the “80 for Brady” film, reuniting with the quarterback and with former Patriots teammates Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. He also plans to host the USA Today High School Sports Awards at the tip of the month.

He’s taking a more lively role in brother Chris Gronkowski’s Ice Shaker company and needs to affix his father’s G&G Fitness Equipment company.

“I’m not like really retired,” Gronkowski said. “It’s just from the sport of football. … It’s not from life. … When people start retiring, they begin dying.”

But is Gronkowski really done with football after agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter he could see the tight end returning and Gronk’s girlfriend, Camille Kostek, echoed the identical sentiments, in response to reports, this week?

What if the Bucs make a championship run? What if Brady comes calling?

Gronkowski answered those questions Tuesday morning.

“Obviously I’ll answer [the call]. It’s the best of all time calling me. We have now an amazing relationship, on and off the sector,” Gronkowski said. “We’re friends. … But I wouldn’t return to football. I’m all set. I’m having fun with what I’m doing, and I’m having fun with trying to search out what I actually, actually need to do next.”

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So why retire now, with Brady pledging a minimum of another yr?

“It was my decision to stop. It was definitely time. It just felt right,” said Gronkowski, whose profession ends with 4 Super Bowl rings — three with the Patriots and one with the Buccaneers.

He leaves in good health and on his own terms. That’s no small feat for a person who broke down in tears recalling the night of the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory in 2019 – when he couldn’t get away from bed due to a quadriceps injury (he would have a liter of blood faraway from the muscle) – or who was forced to miss five regular-season games last yr due to cracked ribs and a punctured lung.

Gronkowski, who has had nine surgeries and a handful of documented concussions with “who knows what number of minor ones,” got here of retirement in 2020 to team up with Brady in Tampa despite the injury risks.

“I feel good. I feel really good. And it feels good to feel good,” said Gronkowski who once suffered a torn ACL, a torn MCL and a concussion in the identical game.

“Each time I stepped out on the football field, I literally left every little thing I had. If it was at practice, or if it was at a game, and if I wasn’t feeling my best at the sport or practice I still gave every little thing that I had each time. So it is not like I’m looking back, you understand, wishing, ‘Man, I must have done that. I must have done this.’ I mean, there’s things obviously you’d change. I mean, but that is learned. That is the way you learn in life. You modify it for the subsequent time.

“But I definitely feel achieved. … I feel achieved with my profession, and, actually, it went way higher than I ever thought it could have.”

He acknowledged a seldom-talked-about reality for a lot of skilled athletes: Retirement will be scary. You go from having every aspect of your life mapped out — every meeting, every practice, every appointment — to an open schedule with a blank canvas. You furthermore mght go from doing something at the best level and achieving worldwide recognition to wondering what’s next.

“Should you’ve been playing sports because you were 2 years old, that is all you understand, you understand,” Gronkowski said. “It got you a full ride into college and got you into [the] pros to make a good living, after which send you off from there — and then you definitely really do not know what to do … because athletics have gotten you that far. You depend on that to make all of your connections in life.

“It definitely could be a scary route. I mean, I’m not likely scared about it — I’m prepared. I feel like there’s a number of business opportunities. I do know I need to step into the business world.”

Gronkowski said keeping lively and getting involved with many projects within the offseason gave him a sneak preview of life in retirement, and he credits his brothers — all former athletes — for his or her guidance in transitioning into the business world. He remodeled $70 million from the NFL but barely touched it, relying as an alternative on his endorsements.

“They took their work ethic from the football field and brought it to the subsequent chapter of life, and that’s something you’ve got to do,” Gronkowski said. “You’ll be able to’t be laid back if you desire to achieve success in the subsequent chapter of your life. You’ve gotta be all-in, and also you’ve gotta grind.”

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