If you know anything about Rob Gronkowski, you know that he is a perfect fit for the world of pro wrestling.
Standing at 6'6" and weighing 265 pounds, he has more than enough size to fit in. If you're looking to compare that to others, Titus O'Neil is listed at 6'6" and 270 pounds, Harper is listed at 6'5" and 275 pounds, Sheamus is listed at 6'4" and 267 pounds, Drew McIntyre is listed at 6'5" and 265 pounds, Konnor (of The Ascension) is listed at 6'4" and 268 pounds, and Mojo Rawley is listed at 6'4" and 265 pounds. None of those men are going to be confused with anyone on the 205 Live roster, you know?
As a professional athlete, the man's accomplishments and skills are world class. At his size, he is able to run the 40-yard-dash in 4.6 seconds, which is almost unfair. He has, as the football world likes to call it, "fluid hips", which allows him to move through his routes well. He's one of the stronger players at his position in the entire NFL, able to fight through attempted tackles and take on defenders in the blocking game.
On top of that, the man affectionately known as "Gronk" has a larger-than-life personality, unafraid to show off in front of cameras or large groups of people.
When you throw all of that in a blender, you end up with someone who can be a potential star as a wrestler.
If you're unaware of why I'm writing a wrestling column about him, recent rumors say that Gronk is unsure about continuing his NFL career. He's only 28 years old, and is set to make $8 million for the 2018 season, but his body has been through a lot of wear and tear. He has undergone eight surgeries since entering the NFL in 2011, including his back, knee and forearm. He suffered a pulmonary contusion (bruised lung) in 2016. He dealt with a concussion in the postseason this year, leading up to the Super Bowl, and is believed to have had another concussion during the 2013 season. He has dealt with other, smaller injuries to his hamstring, groin and knee. That's a lot to deal with in a short amount of time.
With reports that he might not be too keen on playing football anymore come rumors that WWE is prepared to offer Gronk a contract to become a wrestler should he decide to walk away from his "day job".
Now, I know what you're thinking, because I was thinking it, too. The toll that wrestling takes on a body is insane, and if you're walking away from football because of wear and tear, becoming a wrestler is like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. He also wouldn't be wrestling for $8 million a year, that's for damn sure, as everyone on the WWE roster not named Brock Lesnar or John Cena make far less than that.
Once you get beyond those initial thoughts, you'd see that he would only be a part-timer, at most, and most likely, just a "special attraction" of sorts. After training, he would probably wrestle no more than a couple matches in a calendar year. WrestleMania. SummerSlam. That might be it. Also, unless he really picked things up quickly and was a natural like nobody has ever seen before, he probably would only be in the business for a year or two.
Now do you see where it starts to make a little more sense?
I have no doubt in my mind that a WWE contract for Gronkowski would see him making a couple million a year. Anything less than that really doesn't make it worth his while. Wrestle four or five times over the span of two years, bring in several million dollars, and still have enough time left over to party like Gronk is notorious for? That's a pretty sweet deal, if you stop and think about it.
As an "outsider", how would Gronk be received by wrestling fans? Well, we've already seen him make appearances on WWE programming in the past, and the reactions are usually very positive. While he has plenty of people who see him as an immature party animal, Rob Gronkowski is one of the most popular and beloved players in the NFL. I'm not saying he'll be cherished like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in his prime, but I'd like to think he won't have the same type of tepid response that Ronda Rousey has been getting.
If you're already picturing how he would fit in and what angles he'd be participating in, you need to look no further than Mojo Rawley and Jinder Mahal. Before any of you fall asleep, just know that it's a safe bet for him. They obviously have history, with Gronk's participation in helping Mojo win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but let's be real... you don't want Gronk going out there at WrestleMania and having a 20-minute match with Roman Reigns to start his career. Well, some of you do, but I don't. Let him have an earlier-in-the-show match against Jinder, or even against Mojo (bro, we were bros, bro, but you've changed, bro). Shorter match, less pressure on him and his opponent, and he still brings in the mainstream media attention that WWE loves so much.
In the end, I don't think any of this really matters much right away. I just can't see him walking away from the NFL yet, no matter what the rumors say. Tom Brady, the Quarterback for the New England Patriots, is going to be 41 years old by the time the 2018 season begins, and even though he's still playing at a ridiculously high level, he can't have too much time left in his career. If you were to ask me, I would think some mix of Brady, his teammates, and his team's front office will be able to get together and pitch Gronk on coming back for at least one more year. He does have two years left on his contract, and would become a free agent after the 2019 NFL season, when he would still be only 30 years old, so it isn't outside the realm of possibility that he could play his deal out and then walk away. Even if he does retire from football early, wrestling isn't a guarantee for him, as there are also whispers that he could transition from sports to movies, looking to become an action movie star of some sort.
For now, it's obviously all speculation and fantasy booking, but it's something that could become a very real possibility much sooner than we think. It would be fun to see him cross over into another athletic adventure, as long as he isn't pushed too far, too soon, at the expense of others who are more "deserving".