ATLANTA — Thoughts of retirement can wait.
For a few days, anyway.
The more immediate concern for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was how to enjoy himself after yet another Super Bowl victory.
Gronkowski said Sunday night was “about celebrating with my teammates” after the Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. It was his third career Super Bowl win — although he was injured for one of those title runs — and his fourth Super Bowl appearance.
Gronkowski, 29, has dropped hints since late last season that he’s considering retirement, and he said Sunday night that he’ll come to a decision “in a week or two.”
In the meantime, he’ll enjoy the glow of the Patriots’ sixth Super Bowl title of the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era.
“You know how hard it is to get to the Super Bowl?” said Gronkowski, who had two critical catches during the Patriots’ only touchdown drive of the game in the fourth quarter. “We went three years in a row, we’ve won two of the last three and three in the last five. Proud to be a part of this team. We stuck together.”
Gronkowski finished with six catches for 87 yards, and his final two receptions were his most important.
On first down from the Patriots’ 31 with 9:49 left in the fourth quarter and the score tied at 3, Brady lofted a pass to his right for Gronkowski, who beat coverage by linebacker Samson Ebukam for an 18-yard gain to the 49.
Three plays later, on second-and-3 from the Rams’ 31, Brady hit Gronkowski for a 29-yard gain on a deep pass to the left. Brady threaded the ball between three Rams defenders. Sony Michel ran for a 2-yard touchdown on the next play to make it 10-3 with 7:00 left in regulation.
“When it comes to crunch time,” Gronkowski said, “I always find a way.”
He said he “knew it was going to come to me and I knew I had to make that play.”
Gronkowski was the Patriots’ second-leading receiver behind wideout Julian Edelman, who had 10 catches for 141 yards and was named the game’s MVP.
“Julian had an unbelievable game,” Gronkowski said. “He’s an unbelievable player. He played his [butt] off. He was MVP. It was well-deserved. He grinded it out and he’s a heck of a football player.”
If this is it for Gronkowski, he will become one of the few players to walk away after winning a Super Bowl. Going out on top would be a perfect way to end his nine-year career.
“It was the most satisfying year I’ve ever been a part of,” he said.
For now, though, it’s time to celebrate.