The Super Bowl is the last game of the NFL season every single year, but this year, it could be the last game of several important players' careers. According to a report from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, no less than four players involved in Super Bowl LIII are considering retirement after the game.
- Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski
- Patriots defensive backs (and twin brothers) Devin McCourty and Jason McCourty
- Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth
Rapaport reported that Gronkowski is as healthy now as he has been all season, but noted that he has acknowledged retirement rumors several times in the lead-up to this Super Bowl. "Yes. No. Maybe so," Gronk responded when asked about it at one point this week. That came after he seemingly acknowledged the possibility that the rumors were true by saying, "I don't know how you heard about that," when asked if he might retire.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio additionally reported that Gronkowski is not expected to retire immediately after the game, but will instead take some time to consider his options as he weighs whether or not to return for a 10th NFL season after he spent most of this year battling injuries and looking very much not like his usual dominant self.
As for the McCourty brothers, here's how Rapaport phrased things:
Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty opened up this week about possible retirement, and his brother Jason is also considering it. In fact, Jason is considered more likely to retire at this point after 10 years -- especially if he has to change teams. If Devin is asked to take a pay cut from his $9 million salary, that could accelerate things.
Either player could be considered a major loss for the Pats, but Devin's retirement would obviously affect the team a bit more than Jason's. Devin has been one of the best safeties in the league for years and his abilities as a center fielder and run defender are key to their defense. Jason has been a stabilizing force as a slot corner this season but the Pats have cycled through plenty of corners before and been just fine.
Whitworth, meanwhile, has not yet let the Rams know if he intends to return for the 2019 season. His presence along the offensive line has stabilized things up front for the Rams, and if he does call it quits at age 37, it would be a major loss for LA's offense and locker room.