According to NBC Sports' Tom E. Curran, Gronk "didn't enjoy himself in 2017," and even weighed permanently walking away from the game during training camp.
“At that point, his body wasn’t responding. He wanted to train a certain way, the team didn’t necessarily want him to train the way he wanted to train," Curran said during a Monday TV appearance.
Gronk did nothing to quell the rumors when he sent out a cryptic tweet earlier this week.
Curran also hinted at larger, more insidious problems in the Pats locker room. "The season played out and by the end of it, I don’t think that some of the principal players on this team were really happy with the atmosphere and the climate," he said. "They still need to have a hell of an air-clearing at Patriot Place to get these guys back.”
Curran's quote would appear to be referencing Gronk's attempted adoption of the training methods of Alex Guerrero (a.k.a. Tom Brady's personal guru), who reportedly lost some of his Patriots privileges as the organization became concerned with the scope of his influence.
Curran did say that he spoke to Gronkowski late in the regular season, and that the 29-year-old All-Pro's outlook had changed a bit since the summer.
"He talked about training camp and said it was embarrassing and humiliating," Curran said. "He couldn’t play, and he had difficulty convincing people that he should be able to go and train a particular way to get right. He didn’t enjoy himself in 2017. He did not have a good time, despite the fact that his body was in a better shape than its been in a long time and despite the fact that he’s one of the most dominant players at any skill position. The atmosphere in New England is starting to wear on him physically and mentally."
After the Patriots lost to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII earlier this month, Gronkowski was asked about the idea of retirement and didn't exactly dismiss it. Instead, he said he'd "look at his future," which became even more ominous when it was recently reported that the WWE had a contract waiting for him if/when he walks away from the NFL. While it may seem odd to leave the sport at just 29—especially while he's still in his prime—it's certainly worth mentioning that Gronk has been dinged the hell up throughout his career, including notable injuries to his arm, back, knee, and head.