Rob Gronkowski admits a playing comeback is "always an option" but has no plans to come out of retirement for the 2019 NFL season.

A three-time Super Bowl champion during his stellar career - one spent entirely with the New England Patriots - Gronkowski triggered speculation he could be set to return when he scheduled an announcement for Tuesday.

The 30-year-old will not be seen on a football field this season, though, instead revealing via social media that he will be hosting a major Super Bowl party in South Florida.

"I'm bringing the FIESTA to Miami with GRONK BEACH BIG GAME WEEKEND," he tweeted, along with a video where he explains further details of the event.

However, the clip included a line from Gronkowski that suggested he may not be done with playing just yet, as – dressed in pads and holding a helmet – he said: "Okay, maybe we call an audible – but just for this year..."

A second-round pick by the Pats in 2010, the tight end revealed to ESPN that he continues to stay in shape, just in case he wants to get back on the field at some stage in the future.

"I'm 30 years old. I'm young. I still stay fit, still watch the game whenever I can, still enjoy it. I'm feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man," he said.

"It's always an option in the back of my head. It's not like I'm not staying in shape and not doing anything. I'm never stressed over it."

Gronkowski retired in March after helping New England win Super Bowl LIII. He posted 521 receptions and had 79 touchdowns in his nine seasons with the franchise.

The Pats have not struggled in his absence this term, improving their record to 9-1 with a hard-fought 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11.

From post-game news conferences to next-day media availabilities, here are the 10 best Week 6 quotes from players and coaches around the NFL:

 

— Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn stressed the importance of his team taking advantage of their next two home games to get back on track: "I'd say more than anything, we get a chance to fight in front of our home fans. There's no moral victories, there's no things of that such other than finding our ways to fight to get our football team the wins that we need to get. That's really all we’ll think about and all we'll focus our time on."

— Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson on next week's NFC East showdown with the Dallas Cowboys: "Anytime Dallas loses it helps, because here's the thing — I know the sky is falling outside. … Has it been perfect or beautiful or all of that? No. But all we need to do is try to be 1-0 this week, beat the Dallas Cowboys, we're in first place."

— Not only were the Los Angeles Chargers embarrassed on "Sunday Night Football," Pittsburgh Steelers fans also took over their stadium, and the team were not happy: "I don't know what that was. Don't do that at our own stadium," Melvin Gordon said after the game. "It already felt like it was their stadium … I don't understand that."

— Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker had some harsh words for the officiating crew after the team's Monday loss to the Green Bay Packers: "Extremely pissed off right now," Walker said. "It is what it is. Disappointed. Hurt. We had that game."

— Packers kicker Mason Crosby on his first Lambeau Leap after sealing his team's win: "That was special. It's something I've always wanted to do."

— Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke candidly about coach Jason Garrett on 105.3 The Fan radio: "If I totally disagreed with [Jason] Garrett's philosophy, he wouldn't be the head coach."

— Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera gave a sincere injury update on quarterback Cam Newton: "I think people need to understand that the young man has done everything we've asked. I'm trying to stay true to what I told him. We're not going to put that kind of pressure on him. So, until we have it confirmed with our doctors and stuff like that, we're going to continue to do what we're doing."

— Jay Gruden on life after being fired by Washington Redskins: "Pretty quiet ... Bored out of my mind."

— NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay declined to discuss whether pass interference replay is really working this season:  "I don't think we would give a summation of whether a rule that's been in place for six weeks is working or not working," McKay told reporters. "We want to get the egregious ones, and we want to get them overturned."

— Less than a week after leaving the door open for a potential NFL return, Rob Gronkowski appears to have shut it again: "I'll give an answer. When I retired, I retired for a reason: because I needed to step away," Gronkowski said. "So it would be a no. There it is."

We dive into the biggest headlines from around the NFL in the latest edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Bennett suspended for Week 7

Eyebrows were raised when the New England Patriots defensive end was absent from practice on Tuesday, and it was later reported he was banned for one week due to conduct detrimental to the team.

Michael Bennett, an 11-year veteran who was traded to New England in March, later addressed the situation and clarified the origin of the ban.

"On Friday, I had a philosophical disagreement with my position coach that has led to my suspension. I apologise to my team-mates for any distraction this may have caused," he told ESPN.

Bennett has played on just 35.7 per cent of the Patriots' defensive snaps this season and will not be able to return until Week 8 against the Cleveland Browns.

Kitchens confident Mayfield will be healthy after bye

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield injured his hip in Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks on a scramble, but his head coach shut down any doubt regarding his availability for the team's matchup against the Patriots after their bye week.

"He'll be in better shape physically and he'll be in a better place mentally, too," Kitchens told reporters.

The Browns held Mayfield out of practice on Tuesday as a precaution, but Kitchens assured there's "no doubt" he will be 100 per cent ready to face New England in Foxboro on October 27. 

Hicks hits IR with elbow injury

Chicago Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks initially suffered the injury in the team's Week 5 loss to the Oakland Raiders in London. He will now miss the next eight weeks at least, though Bears coach Matt Nagy left the door open for him to potentially return later this season. Hicks had six tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery, and one tackle-for-loss through four games before getting hurt.

The move comes one day after the team placed right guard Kyle Long on injured reserve as he continues to deal with a hip injury. It is certainly not ideal with Chicago slated to host the 5-1 New Orleans Saints in Week 6.

Two things that don't matter

Controversial Lions-Packers ending discussed at league meetings in Florida

Nothing can be done at this point, but the NFL appeared to at least acknowledge the magnitude of the mistakes made Monday night as NFL vice-president of operations Troy Vincent noted the second hands to the face call on Detroit Lions defensive lineman Trey Flowers is "not something that you want to see called."

Vincent added he would reach out to Lions owner Martha Ford and general manager Bob Quinn to personally relay the message.

The league's allowance of instant replay to review pass interference this season was also discussed, though NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay declined to discuss whether it is actually working.

"I don't think we would give a summation of whether a rule that's been in place for six weeks is working or not working," McKay told reporters.

Gronkowski dismisses idea of NFL return

There has been speculation over whether the former tight end will return to the NFL, but Rob Gronkowski recently gave his most definitive answer yet.

"I'll give an answer. When I retired, I retired for a reason: because I needed to step away," Gronkowski said. "So it would be a no. There it is." 

Gronkowski had left the door open for a potential return to the field when he made his debut as Fox's newest NFL analyst last week, though he appears to have shut it again.

"I never say no, because I've said no, and everyone's like, 'Yeah, he's kidding. He's coming back,'" Gronkowski said. "But it's a no. In my mind, that's how it is. It's a no.

"I'm very satisfied where I'm at. I say it all the time: I would have never left the game if I was going to be itching every single day. I've said that before, many times.

"I had those thoughts, too. 'Would I be missing it?' And I just knew that it needed to be done. I'm very satisfied where I'm at."

One video you have to see

There were plenty of feel-good moments in Week 6.

Tuesday's tweet of the day

Antonio Brown is trying to stay relevant after he filed a number of grievances with the Patriots and Raiders.

Tom Brady will not attempt to persuade former New England Patriots team-mate Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement.

Tight end Gronkowski retired during the offseason and has since moved into the media, starting work as an NFL analyst for Fox.

Ahead of the game between his old team and the New York Giants last Thursday, the 30-year-old said on television he would need to be "feeling it big time" to make a playing comeback.

In his absence, tight ends Ryan Izzo and Matt Lacosse have combined for only nine receptions for 169 yards and one touchdown for the Pats, but quarterback Brady feels Gronkowski is now "at a different phase of his life".

"I'm so happy that he's enjoying his time, his life. He seems to really be doing a lot of great things," Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI, a Boston sports radio station.

"He knows how I feel about him. I want what's best for him. He's the only person that can make those decisions. I don't lobby for those things.

"He's given a hell of a lot to our team already over a long period of time, and I think people should be very appreciative for what he's brought to the team and what he's brought to the region.

"I think he's just a very special guy. He's at a different phase of his life."

Patriots owner Robert Kraft sparked speculation over a return recently when he said Gronkowski had yet to file his retirement papers. Kraft added that he would "pray and hope" that the three-time Super Bowl champion may yet play again.

New England are 6-0 this season and sit first in the AFC East. They make the trip to divisional rivals the New York Jets in Week 7.

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has joined FOX Sports as an NFL analyst, the broadcaster announced on Tuesday.

Gronkowski in March retired following nine seasons in the league, all spent with New England, despite only turning 30 last May.

A second-round selection of the Patriots in 2010, he finished his career with five Pro Bowl selections, four first-team All-Pro honours and three Super Bowl victories.

Gronkowski will make his first appearance in his new role on Thursday, when his former team the Patriots host the New York Giants in Week 6.

"I'm extremely excited to be joining FOX Sports," Gronkowski said. "For the past 25 years, they've offered viewers top-notch NFL programming from the field to the booth to the studio.

"Their deep talent roster is unmatched, which was important for me as I embark on this new chapter in my life because I'll be able to learn from the best in the business."

Gronkowski is New England's all-time leading touchdown scorer and is tied for the second-most receiving scores in postseason history.

He is also the NFL's postseason leader among tight ends in catches (81) and receiving yards (1,163).

Rob Gronkowski has opened up on his decision to retire from the NFL and how the physical and mental impact of the game brought him to that point.

The former New England Patriots tight end, speaking at a summit advocating for players to be allowed to use CBD oil for pain, fought back tears when he said he explained his exhaustion after Super Bowl LIII.

"I want to be clear to my fans. I needed to recover. I was not in a good place. Football was bringing me down, and I didn't like it. I was losing that joy in life," Gronkowski told the crowd, in quotes published on ESPN.

Gronkowski surprised many when he retired from the NFL in March at the age of 29. He said a thigh injury he sustained during the Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Rams was what pushed him over the edge.

"I got done with the game and I could barely walk," he revealed.

"I slept five minutes that night. I couldn't even think. I was in tears in my bed after a Super Bowl victory. It didn't make that much sense to me. And then, for four weeks, I couldn't even sleep for more than 20 minutes a night. I was like, 'Damn, this sucks'. It didn't feel good," Gronkowski said.

"It was one of the biggest, deepest thigh bruises I've ever gotten."

Gronkowski also noted that the thigh bruise was so severe he had internal bleeding in his leg.

His decision to discuss the physical and mental strains of football coincides with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's decision to walk away from the game at 29 for similar reasons. However, Gronkowski claimed he is happy with where he is in life.

"I truly believe going through those tough times, nine years — off the field, on the field — has brought me to this point and I believe I'm on the right path in my life," he said.

"It's a purpose to have passion in my life, to have joy in my life. And then to inspire optimal health within myself, I need to do that in order to get to a peak and then I can bring it to other people, because I know [in] the NFL, players are dealing with that kind of stuff, they're dealing with pain. I was. And I needed to walk away because I needed to do what was best for myself."

As for coming out of retirement, Gronkowski admitted he is not completely saying no, but added that mentally, he is unable to get back into the game at this point.

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