Rob Gronkowski’s reign as one of the NFL’s most dominant tight ends took a serious physical toll on his body.
In a new interview with CBS News, the former New England Patriots star revealed that he suffered “like 20 concussions” during his nine-season tenure in the league while discussing whether he’d allow his son to play the contact sport.
“I would let my son play football, but I would educate him on the game and educate him on what I went through, and I truly believe that any injury that you receive is fixable,” Gronkowski, 30, told CBSN’s Reena Ninan.
“I went through and had nine surgeries. I probably had like 20 concussions in my life. I remember five blackout ones,” said the three-time Super Bowl champion.
The dangers of tackle football have been the topic of heated debate in recent years, as scientists have linked concussions directly to degenerative brain disease in former NFL players.
Even so, Gronkowski still entertained the idea of a comeback when Ninan asked if he’d be interested in coming out of retirement and playing a different position.
“That is a good question. A lot of people are like, ‘Are you going to come back as a wide receiver?’ I’m going to tell people that I’m going to be a safety or something — a 6’6′ safety,” he said.
“But it is the same answer I had with everyone, I have to feel it to come back, too. I am in a good place right now.”
Since hanging up his jersey in March, the three-time Super Bowl champ has lost a between 15 and 20 pounds, CBSN reports. He admitted that leaving the gridiron for good was “tough at first.”
“The first few days are a grind. But, I have learned that if it is a grind it is going to be satisfying in the end. You know? It is like working out. Sometimes you are in the workout but if you just fight through it and then half an hour later you are done and you are like I feel good. I can do anything, let’s go. That is kind of the same thing,” he said.
“Now, I feel great,” he added. “I feel faster and I feel like I can think.”
Gronk is staying busy after life in the NFL. He recently announced his investment and partnership with Abacus Health. The Toronto-based company makes various products infused with CBD, a non-psychoactive compound derived from marijuana that’s used by athletes for pain relief and recovery.
“I’m advocating for CBD to be acceptable for all players for recovery,” he said at a formal press conference to announce the partnership, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“You can just call me Mr. Recovery. You know you like that name. Mr. Recovery, baby.”