Patriots' Robert Kraft told Rob Gronkowski he wants him back for playoffs, report says

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When three-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski announced his stunning retirement back in March, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft walked up to him in the locker room to say goodbye -- while telling the superstar tight end he wanted Gronk to return for November, according to an NFL Network report.

That November date would be key.

The last day that Gronkowski could request a potential reinstatement to the Patriots roster would be Saturday, Nov. 30, a day before their Week 13 game against the Houston Texans.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with Rob Gronkowski (#87) in 2017. (Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images, File)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with Rob Gronkowski (#87) in 2017. (Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images, File)

“Owner Robert Kraft walked up to him to say goodbye. According to sources, Kraft delivered a clear and concise message that would resonate for months,” NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported. “Kraft told Gronkowski that he wants him to return for November, December, and a playoff run. If that happened, the team not only would welcome him back but will remain hopeful that it happens.”

If Gronk were to return, it’s almost certain the team would honor his request. Kraft appeared on NFL Network last month saying: “There is still hope for us with Gronk.”

Earlier this year, the tight end left open the possibility of a return.

“I’m just in the first stage right now,” Gronkowski said back in September when announcing his partnership with CBDmedic, a cannabidiol company. “When that time comes down in the future, if I have the desire to play football again, if I feel passionate about football again, if I’m feeling I need to be out there on the field, I will go back to football.”

“As of right now, that is not the case. It could be the case in six months; it could be the case in two years; it could be the case in three years; it could be the case in three months. But, I truly don’t see it in the foreseeable future, in like a week or a month,” he added.

In his post-NFL life, Gronkowski has been getting into the business world, while also joining Fox Sports as a television analyst last month.

In addition, he’s talked about the injuries he received while playing football -- focusing mainly on concussions.

“I used to have liquid, [my head] used to be thick. My head used to be thicker, like a centimeter of liquid in some spots and I’d feel it and be like, ‘What the heck?’ You could put indents in my head,” he said back in August.

Even so, Gronkowski didn't rule out a possible return during an appearance on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” Aug. 28.

“I’ve been changing up everything, having new energy. I may be back!” he said.

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