- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski explained his decision to retire after the 2018 season Tuesday while at a press conference announcing that he will become a spokesman for a CBD company.

“I want to be clear to my fans. I needed to recover. I was not in a good place,” the 30-year-old said, according to reports. “Football was bringing me down, and I didn’t like it. I was losing that joy in life.”

Gronkowski did not say he would never consider a comeback to the NFL, saying “physically” he could play right now.

“Mentally-wise, desire-wise, it’s not there,” he said. “My mind, my soul keeps telling me, ‘You need more time off.’ “

Gronkowski said he decided he would retire shortly after the Patriots’ win in Super Bowl LIII, during which he suffered a significant thigh bruise that led to internal bleeding.

The three-time Super Bowl champion spoke to reporters in New York at an announcement that he would endorse the company CBDMEDIC. Gronkowski wants sports leagues to change their policies about using CBD, a substance extracted from the cannabis plant, for pain relief and said it’s helped him become pain-free.

“I wish I had been able to use CBDMEDIC while I was playing,” read a statement attributed to Gronkowski on the company’s website. “It would have made a huge difference in my pain management during my career and I know it can help many others who are looking for safe, pill-free solutions to managing pain.”

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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