FOXBOROUGH – It might be time to finally put those hopes of Rob Gronkowski coming out of retirement to bed. These aspirations should have been dashed a while ago when we saw that Gronk had gotten significantly smaller compared to his size during his playing days, but many fans still believed he was primed to make a return. This latest news doesn't necessarily rule that out as we saw Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten abandon the broadcast booth to return to the playing field, but it certainly makes it unlikely.

In a move announced this week, former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski officially joined the Fox Sports team of NFL analysts. Fox aims to have Gronk on screen in myriad formats and his appearances are not expected to be sparse. In fact, he's going to be thrown right into the thick of it tomorrow night as he will provide pre-game coverage ahead of the Thursday Night Football game between the Patriots and the New York Giants. I wonder if he will have any fun insights about his former team.

In a statement regarding the latest career move, Gronkowski said, “I’m extremely excited to be joining Fox Sports. For the past 25 years, they’ve offered viewers top-notch NFL programming from the field to the booth to the studio. Their deep talent roster is unmatched, which was important for me as I embark on this new chapter in my life because I’ll be able to learn from the best in the business.”

Enjoy that statement now because I am willing to bet it is the most coherent thing we will hear Gronk say as a Fox employee. I think he will have good insights about football, but I am not expecting Tony Romo-caliber analysis from him. Regardless, much like when David Ortiz joined the analysis team for the MLB playoffs on Fox and when Shaquille O'Neal joined the team over on TNT for basketball coverage, Gronk is going to be must-see television. I can't wait to see him on air again.

Image via Wikipedia / Jeffrey Beall