Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski to take time deciding playing future

ATLANTA -- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski isn't ready to talk retirement just yet, but he did offer a timetable regarding a decision on his playing future.

Asked by ESPN on Super Bowl media night Monday when he plans to decide on continuing or ending his career, Gronkowski responded, "As of right now, those are the last things I'm thinking of. ... I love playing the game. After a long season, after the [Super Bowl], a few weeks down the road, you sit back, you relax, you get some downtime, enjoyment time. And you just see where you want to go with it.''

Pressed on whether he wants to play beyond this season, Gronkowski answered, "That's a tricky question. You're trying to get around me. You're just trying to get you some answers over there, baby. But, like I said, I don't know. I haven't done that sit-down yet. I've got to do that sit-down. About two weeks after [the season]. Then I'll know.''

Gronkowski, who turns 30 in May, has dealt with a variety of injuries during his nine NFL seasons. This season, he has battled both back and ankle injuries but feels healthy going into Sunday's Super Bowl LIII matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.

In the latter part of Monday's media session, Gronkowski was asked how many more years his body could take in the NFL.

"How many more years my body could take? In my opinion? That's a good question. Many,'' he said. "Many, many, many, many years. ... There is no number. As much years as I want to go. Yeah, I feel good. But, I mean, if you just work hard enough through the work days, you can keep going.''

One reporter started a question to Gronkowski saying, "As your career is winding down.'' Gronkowski stopped the reporter in midsentence.

"It is?'' Gronkowski said with sarcasm. "Ohhhhh.''

Tom Brady said Tuesday that he is encouraged by Gronkowski's demeanor.

"I was standing right next to him and he was having a good time, which tells me a lot of good things," he said of the media night. "It means he's feeling good, and he's excited. I think we should all be happy about that."

Brady had no insight into Gronkowski's thinking on retirement.

"He and I have not talked about that at all," he said. "I don't think he's focused on it, and I don't think any of us are focused on those types of things. He's a young man, and I said 'Whatever he wants to do in life, he is going to be great at.' He has an infectious personality. He brings a lot of charisma. He's just a great person."

Wide receiver Chris Hogan doesn't want to think about life without Gronkowski.

"Gronk's a great player and a great teammate, and we love having him around in the locker room,'' Hogan said Monday. "He's a playmaker on the field. I just enjoy every single time and every moment that I have with him.

"He's looked great this year. And he's been able to stay healthy. Again, he's a playmaker. He's a big, physical guy. We look for him to make plays for our team. I'm just excited that I get to share the field with a guy like him.''

Gronkowski caught 47 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games during the 2018 regular season. He has seven catches for 104 yards in two playoff games.

ESPN's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.