Rob Gronkowski solves post-playing stress with puzzles

"It just lowered my stress levels just the way, you know, I was feeling."

Rob Gronkowski uses jigsaw puzzles to lower his stress levels and to help his mental recovery.
Rob Gronkowski uses jigsaw puzzles to lower his stress levels and to help his mental recovery. –Steven Senne/AP File Photo

Rob Gronkowski is enjoying life in retirement — one piece at a time.

The former star tight end who helped the New England Patriots win three Super Bowls during his nine-year career uses jigsaw puzzles to lower his stress levels and to help his mental recovery.

Gronkowski said in an interview with Reena Ninan for “CBS Sunday Morning” that airs Sunday on the CBS Television Network that he “just wasn’t feeling like myself anymore” after retiring from playing football. He said the lifestyle caught up to him and he wasn’t enjoying playing the game.

The 30-year-old Gronkowski, who had 521 catches for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns, has used several methods to improve his life since his playing days, including nutrition programs, physical therapy — and solving puzzles.

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“It just lowered my stress levels just the way, you know, I was feeling,” Gronkowski said. “I just, you know, (was) just always anxious, always going. And I just needed to finally find some downtime to just relax.”

Gronkowski, who estimates he had 20 concussions during his playing days, realized that doing puzzles was also helping him mentally, particularly with problem solving.

“It was crazy,” he said. “My brain was just clicking. It was just going. It was all on wheels.”