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Florio: 'Good Chance' Rob Gronkowski Retires After 2018 Season

BOSTON (CBS) -- Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio was pretty accurate when he speculated out of the blue on Super Bowl Sunday that Rob Gronkowski might retire after the game. So when he speculates, the football world listens.

And speculate, Florio did, suggesting prior to Sunday's game that this may be Gronkowski's final season in the NFL.

Speaking on WEEI, Florio said that Gronkowski may get tired of having to earn his money through on-field incentives and may just choose to simply retire at season's end.

"I think there's a good chance he just walks away after this year unless the Patriots are willing to rip up the last year of that contract and give him some form of security that is not tied to being healthy and producing on the field," Florio suggested.

Gronkowski reworked his contract for the second straight year prior to this season. But unlike 2017, it does not appear as though the 29-year-old will earn the potential $3.3 million that was written into his deal.

"When the Super Bowl ended and he was asked about rumors of a possible retirement, his first comment was, 'I don't know how you heard about that,' which implies a lot," Florio said on WEEI. "I think if the Patriots had won the Super Bowl he would have retired. And I think after this season, which has been very disappointing for him ... He has an uphill climb to hit those numbers. Last year he hit all of them."

This was in no way a direct report from Florio. But considering that Florio is pretty well connected with Gronk's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, it's fair to surmise that just like in February, Florio is not making this up out of nowhere.

Gronkowski missed Sunday's game in Tennessee due to back and ankle injuries, his third missed game in the last four weeks.

Getting a more local feel for the story, WEEI also talked to NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran on Sunday. Curran said that his feeling is that 2018 will be Gronkowski's final year as a member of the Patriots.

"Certainly, when you look at the arch of Gronk's time here, this is probably the stretch run of Rob Gronkowski as a New England Patriot. These final games and then the postseason," Curran said. "I am not saying he's done at his own volition. I am saying this is his final period of time as a Patriot. He's on the books for $11.7 million. They tried to get out from under it last year, weren't able to do it with that $11.7 million. To no fault of Gronk's, his body, his ankle, back, he hasn't been able to bring them the reward. They are not going to be interested in, after not getting $11.7 in cap hit out of him, going up to $12 million in cap hit next year for the final season of his contract."

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