Gronkowski appeared in an episode of HBO’s “The Shop: Uninterrupted” this week and revealed when he really started to think about retiring.
“It was about like two years ago there was a game changer in my life. I was trying to go out to the practices in the summer and I was getting smoked by every rookie. I felt in order to do something bigger in life, in order to get to a higher stage, I felt like I had to get away from the game and focus on my health,” he said.
“I lived the typical party life. I was eating f------ s–- every second. I was just trying to put on weight, I was living that life. At the same time, I was going out and playing f------ football and running people over, getting the f–- ran over.”
WARNING: EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE
Gronkowski has been very open about the injuries he suffered while playing in the NFL for 9 seasons.
Last week, he told NBC News he had a “centimeter of liquid” in his head at points during his career.
“No lie, I felt my head, I used to have liquid,” the former tight end said. “It used to be thick, like, my head used to be thicker—a centimeter of liquid in some spots. And you'd be like, what the heck? You could put indents in my head.”
While Gronkowski left the door open for a potential return to the football field, he noted that he suffered a severe quad injury against the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl.
“I got done with the game, I could barely walk,” he said. “Now I can barely walk. I’m at the after-party, I sit down and I’m just chilling all day, like the rest of the night until 3 a.m. I try to go to bed, I slept for 5 minutes that night. I couldn’t even think. I was in tears, in my bed, after a Super Bowl victory.”
Gronkowski said he couldn’t sleep for more than 20 minutes. He said two weeks after the Super Bowl, he had to get 200 milliliters of blood drained from his leg. Then a week after that another 500 milliliters and then another 300 milters one more week later, for a total of 1 liter.
Gronkowski retired in March and, while the speculation has been that he would return to the Patriots at some time, the devastating effects of playing football appear to be weighing heavily on the future Hall of Famer.