By Evan Bleier / March 25, 2019

Will Gronk’s Retirement Speed the End of the Patriots’ Dynasty?

New England will play 2019 without their all-time franchise leader in touchdown catches.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots is interviewed after his teams 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots is interviewed after his teams 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

When the Patriots begin the 2019 season, it will be without New England’s all-time franchise leader in touchdown catches (79) on the field.

After nine NFL seasons, Rob Gronkowski is retiring from the league, a move which could hasten the end of the Patriots’ reign of terror over the NFL.

The key word there: “could.”

Gronkowski is far from the first star player New England has lost to retirement, free agency or trade over the past 18 years and he likely won’t be the last. But, as long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are still in New England, there’s reason to believe the Patriots’ dynasty will live on.

There’s also the chance that, after some time off from the NFL, 29-year-old Gronkowski decides to come back to the NFL.

“At some point, maybe his aches and pains won’t seem quite so debilitating,” according to The Washington Post. “The lure of football undoubtedly will remain strong. The Patriots probably will be back in the running for yet another Super Bowl next season. What if he could, say, miss training camp and a portion of the regular season, and return to play the games that matter most?”

As for Gronkowski’s next professional endeavor, a stint in the WWE appears to be the favorite according to odds which were just released by Bet Online.

Rob Gronkowski – What will he do next?

Fight in WWE: 3/2
NFL Commentator: 2/1
Actor: 5/1
Host a Podcast: 5/1
Play in NFL: 10/1
Play in AAF: 33/1
Play in XFL: 33/1
Male Stripper: 50/1
Play in CFL: 50/1

As you can see, a return to the NFL isn’t totally off the table – good news for the Pats and their dynasty.