Rob Gronkowski will not return to help struggling Patriots offense this season

Rob Gronkowski isn’t going to solve all the New England Patriots’ offensive woes. Even if Gronkowski wanted to return to the NFL to help the Pats this season, he can’t. The deadline for Gronkowski to announce his return has already passed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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The deadline for Gronkowski to return this season was Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. If Gronkowski suddenly changes his mind and wants to come back, he can’t be reinstated until after the Super Bowl.

This should not come as a major surprise. The 30-year-old Gronkowski has given no indication he wanted to return to football this season. He hasn’t totally ruled out a return, saying variations of things like “we’ll see” and “never say never.”

His actions, however, have suggested that wasn’t going to happen this year. Gronkowski has spoken about the physical toll the NFL took on his body. He broke down in tears discussing the injury he suffered during Super Bowl LIII. He’s also appeared on pregame shows looking far slimmer than he did in his playing days. And when Gronkowski teased a “big announcement in November,” it turned out he was talking about a “championship of partying,” not a return to football.

It’s easy to assume Gronkowski will return at some point. At 30, he’s still young enough to play at a high level. And when he was healthy, Gronkowski was among the best tight ends ever. If he were to come back, he could still produce.

But Gronkowski might not want that at all. Football is a brutal and dangerous sport. Gronkowski put his body through nine years of that abuse.

If he doesn’t want to go through that again, he’s earned that right.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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