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Stop Trying to Push Rob Gronkowski Back to Football

Rob Gronkowski’s recent media blitz has been effective in two different areas. One is increasing interest in the healing elements of CBD. The other is driving home just how terrible the sport of football is for human beings to play, especially the now-retired tight end.

This is a man who couldn’t walk or sleep after his latest Super Bowl triumph. A man who understood Andrew Luck’s shocking decision. A man who said football was bringing him down and that he didn’t miss it. A man who said, in a segment that aired today, he suffered approximately 20 concussions playing the sport, including five “blackout” ones.

Gronkowski, ever the optimist, believes he’s fixed and that football’s attrition on a person is always fixable. This is, of course, not true. He perhaps needs to think this to maintain his joy and sanity. Thinking about all the damage he’s done to his body and brain would be depressing.

But the rest of us have a obligation — albeit small — when considering the future Hall of Famer. That obligation is to listen to what’s plainly obvious from his comments. That he should be done with football. That he, hopefully, has gotten out before it’s truly too late to find joy in something else.

This is not the most prevailing narrative track the coverage of Gronk’s second act has taken. No, most of it has been about his hypothetical return along a hypothetical timeline. Which is crazy.

Returning would be his prerogative. But anyone listening in the slightest can hear that doing so would probably not be the right option for Gronkowski the person. Maybe instead of treating him as a crash-test dummy for our amusement we could consider what all of those head-on collisions have done.

The next time he’s asked about coming back or an opinion piece suggests he would really help the ol’ Patriots, it will be as self-serving as the first thousand. Only with time, it becomes even more tone-deaf.