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McGinley: To Gronk, with slightly less love

| Thursday, April 23, 2020

Dear Gronk,

Rob, if I may

What the heck, man?

Sad doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt when you retired. You were my sister’s favorite player and the ability you had to get down the field for Tom Brady was unmatched by any offense in the league.

To cite a few outstanding plays:

Against the Bengals, in 2010, your rookie season, you caught a pass over your shoulder without even looking. Against the Steelers, you scored a hat trick, putting yourself on the map for everyone else to notice you like New England had.

In the 2015 AFC championship game against Denver, you caught a pass to convert on fourth down to give your team a chance to go to the Super Bowl.

And in 2018, in what we expected to be your final season, you made a reaching catch over Eric Berry of Kansas City to secure a trip to the Super Bowl.

No matter how many defenders you had draped on you, or how many injuries you were playing through, you were always there to catch a pass. New England will never forget it.

That being said, I understood why you retired. I knew you needed rest and I respected that. You tried your hand at announcing, and it went okay. You had the tide commercial, and you were throwing an immense retirement party. All was well. We were happy for you.

Then, you entered the WWE. And again, we were happy for you. You seemed to enjoy it and it meant we got to see more of you. A win for everybody.

So, where did this come from? This new development? You didn’t even tell us you were back before you were whisked away by Brady and his new band of Buccaneers.

I don’t have the words to describe the hurt, the sheer amount of pain that hit my chest on Tuesday afternoon. How could something so trivial in times like these have hit me so hard? And yet, like clockwork, the story broke and I froze, unable to move from the hallway in my house, clinging to every strand of disbelief I could find.

I recall saying this and it is now truer than ever. The Patriots will never be the same. You and Tom have always been an inseparable pair, and you will do great things with your new teammates.

I hope you enjoy the warmth and the sun, as there is somehow less that I can do about this now than I could do about Brady leaving us too. I still would’ve liked a warning, but I will grow to accept it no matter how much greater this has made that first blow.

Say hi to Tom for me and tell him we already miss him.

Just don’t forget us.

With love, confusion, and a whole lot of sadness,

The girl who hasn’t given up on the Pats season yet, even though she probably should have. 

PS. Pats Nation, our time will come again. I don’t know how or when, but our time will return.

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