Rob Gronkowski Rejoins Patriots; Strongly Considered Retiring

Superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski rejoined his teammates at mandatory mini-camp at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday.

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Jul 24, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) runs through drills during training camp at the team practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Breathe easy Patriots fans, Rob Gronkowski is back. Gronk joined his New England Patriots teammates on the practice fields at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday for the first day of the team’s mandatory mini-camp.

“It was great. I feel good,” Gronkowski told reporters in Foxboro. “A lot of excitement, obviously. I had some jitters, too. First time when it’s been awhile you get the jitters. Going out there, you just don’t know. It’s football. You have to compete. You’re competing against really good players every time you step on the field so I felt good.”

Gronk being back on the field was not always a certainty. There was talk this offseason of a contract holdout or possibly even retirement. That didn’t happen but like teammate Tom Brady, Gronkowski skipped voluntary OTA’s. Unlike Brady – who elected no to speak with reporters today – Gronk was very forthcoming about why he stayed away.

“Just was training on my own,” Gronkowski said. “Felt like that was the best thing for me and I wanted to take care of my body, take care of myself and see where I was at before I came out here. It went good. I think it was a good decision.”

Gronkoswki also told reporters that he is looking for a new contract “who wouldn’t?” he quipped. Gronk however maintains staying away was not a negotiating ploy and that he really was considering walking away from football.

“I was having different thoughts, so I needed to see where my body was at and if I wanted to go through it again. I’m going to do what is best for myself and take care of myself. Because if I can’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of anyone else or help out the team.”

Of course it wouldn’t be a Gronkowski news conference without some sophomoric sexual innuendo. In this case it was about his horse Gronkowski which will be running in the Belmont Stakes this weekend.

“Hopefully [I get a ride]. I like taking things for a ride.”

Welcome back Gronk.