Rob Gronkowski announces his next chapter

"I knew I just had to fix myself.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 27: Rob Gronkowski at a press conference announced he is becoming an advocate for CBD and will partner with Abacus Health Products, maker of CBDMEDIC Topical Pain Products on August 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images For CBDMEDIC)
Rob Gronkowski announced he is becoming an advocate for CBD and will partner with Abacus Health Products, maker of CBDMEDIC. –Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images For CBDMEDIC

Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has a new identity: “Mr. Recovery.”

“You know you like that name,” Gronkowski said in a press conference Tuesday morning to announce his “next chapter.”

Gronkowski will be partnering with Abacus Health Products to advocate that cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is an acceptable, alternative way for players to deal with pain. Cannabis of any kind, including CBD, is currently on the league’s list of banned substances. Gronkowski said his dad introduced him to CBD products following his retirement in March, and, as a result, he’s felt pain-free “for the first time in over a decade.”

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“I only wish I knew about [CBD] while I was playing,” Gronkowski said.

Joined by Perry Antelman, CEO of Abacus Health Products, Gronkowski shared he plans to launch a line of products with CBDMEDIC in 2020. While the pair did not divulge additional details on what the line will entail, Gronkowski said it will be “all-natural” and “fitness-oriented.”

“CBDMEDIC was so life-changing for me,” Gronkowski said.

Gronkowski noted he is “very satisfied” with where he is in life, and pushed back on the notion that a return to football is imminent. He stressed he is not mentally ready to return to the game, saying his mind and soul keep telling him he needs more time off.

“Wherever I go, Patriots fans always ask, ‘Am I coming back? When I’m coming back? Where am I coming back?” Gronkowski said, before tearing up. “I’m walking across the street, and they’re like, ‘You’re walking because you’re coming back.’ It’s crazy. I understand. I feel that love.

“But 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, like the joy. I really was. I was fighting through it. I knew what I signed up for. I knew what I was fighting through. I knew I just had to fix myself.”

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Gronkowski remained emotional as he recalled the immense pain he felt due to a thigh bruise suffered in the second quarter of Super Bowl LIII. The 30-year-old said he could barely walk following the game and slept for five minutes while crying in his bed that night.

The sleep struggles persisted for about a month, and Gronkowski ended up getting a liter of blood removed from his thigh over the course of three visits to the hospital. He called the amount “record-breaking.”

“I know I like to break records,” he joked. “That’s just what I do.”

Gronkowski expressed confidence that he can still reach “another level” with his health and body, and even teased that a return to football could be in the cards — just not at the moment.

“I’m just in the first stage right now,” Gronkowski said. “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.”

So, if he does return, will be with the Patriots?

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“I got one year left on my contract, so no matter what, that’s going to happen,” Gronkowski said. “I’m pretty sure if I come back in two years, I’m still with the Patriots for a year.”

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