Rob Gronkowski ends all speculation of possible return from retirement: 'It would be a no. There it is.'

You've likely heard by now that Rob Gronkowski is retired from football. 

All sarcasm aside, though, it's the possibility of his return to the New England Patriots that's prevailed the last several months, and mostly fueled by his own ambiguous comments when asked about it. His continued comments stating he's "open to" the idea have led to the eyeballing of certain dates on the NFL calendar -- ahem, December -- and an incessant number of questions aimed at the organization to determine if the future Hall of Famer will indeed return, and owner Robert Kraft recently made no bones about being hopeful Gronkowski decides to again suit up for the Patriots. 

"We all love Gronk and I think the bottom line is he hasn't put his retirement papers in," Kraft said. "So we can always pray and hope. ... That's a good academic argument that there is hope for us still with Gronk."

That hope has now been buried by Gronkowski, unequivocally. Speaking with WEEI 97.3FM in Boston on Tuesday morning, less than a week after Kraft's hope-filled statement, the 30-year-old slammed the door shut on any and all speculation of a possible return.

"When I retired, I retired for a reason," he said, via CBS Boston. "It would be a no. There it is."

He then explained why he hadn't simply shut the rumors down before, instead feeding them, incidentally. 

"I never say no, because I said no and everyone said 'he's kidding,'" Gronkowski admitted, before welding the slammed door shut once and for all. "It's a no. In my mind, that's how it is, a no."

For one of the most talented tight ends in the history of the game, his final decision comes attached to concerns for his mental and physical well-being. Gronkowski recently admitted he suffered upwards of 20 concussions in his football career, including five that made him black out. This was in addition to having a pint of blood drained from his leg once following a Super Bowl, and then there's the issue of his elbow -- surgically repaired on more than one occasion. 

Even more disturbing were the details of his head injuries, as described in his words this August.

"No lie, I felt my head, I used to have liquid," he told NBC News. "It used to be thick, like, my head used to be thicker, like a centimeter of liquid in some spots, and you feel it. I'd be like, 'What the heck?' You could put indents in my head, but now, finally, I'm getting the right treatments and doing the right things."

Needless to say, Gronkowski is apt to stay where he is -- the newest addition to Fox Sports -- and doesn't have the "itch" to return to the NFL. And if/when he does get one, it'll have to be consistent and one so deep only a Patriots uniform can scratch it.

Otherwise, his answer remains a firm no.

"I'm enjoying myself right now," Gronkowski said on Tuesday. "I don't have that itch, and if I had that itch I'd go back. It would have to be a continuous itch. I see Tom [Brady] throw a nice touchdown pass, I'm like "I wish that was me'. But that's five seconds [and it's gone]."

Speaking of Brady, don't expect him to take up Kraft's stance and attempt to lobby his longtime teammate back to the field. 

"Look, I love that guy," Brady told WEEI on Monday. "I am so happy that he's enjoying his time. I am happy that he's enjoying his life. He seems to really be doing a lot of great things. 

"He knows how I feel about him. I want what is best for him."

To that point, Gronkowski has officially decided what's best for him is staying retired and enjoying life after football, as he awaits his gold jacket and bust in Canton. There will be no comeback story in 2019, or ever again, because the fleeting itch isn't worth everything that comes with scratching it.

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