Health and Wellness

Rob Gronkowski: Time off from NFL was 'best decision ever'—and science backs that up

Tom Brady #12 talks to Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots after a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

"Gronk" is back.

Former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski (affectionately known as "Gronk") shocked the sports world Thursday when he announced that after a year away from football he will be returning to play with his old teammate Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In 2019, after the 2018 NFL season, Gronkowski announced his retirement following a nine-year career with the Patriots, which earned him three Super Bowl rings and more than $50 million.

And "taking a year off was hands down the best decision I made, not just in my career, but also for my health and well-being, and I would do that all over again," Gronkowski said on Instagram on Thursday.

Research backs up what Gronkowski is feeling. Studies have shown that taking time off helps workers recover from stress and has overall positive effects on their well-being and job performance. 

Researchers have also found those who take time off end up being more productive and are more likely to receive a raise or a bonus down the road.

Even during the lockdown, experts say it's still important to take time off to avoid burning out.

In January, Gronkowski told CNBC Make It that not only did his body need a break from the physical and mental strains of the sport but that he wanted some time to simply "try to find things that [he] would just love to do."

One of those things was television. In October, FOX NFL Sunday hired Gronkowski as a football analyst — which he said was a dream come true for him.

"I feel like I've definitely transformed ever since I stopped playing football. I feel like I transformed in a better way," Gronkowski told CNBC Make It in January.

He has also become a new man physically over the year, telling CNBC Make It in January that he had lost about 10 to 15 pounds by changing his diet and doing Tom Brady-inspired workouts.

Rob Gronkowski in a publicity shot for his Fitplan partnership released in January.
Credit: Fitplan

Gronkowski, now 30, said had been playing football nonstop since the age of 14 and never gave himself a real "break."

But after taking the last year off, his "fire is back," he said on Instagram.

"[I] said it from the beginning that I wouldn't come back to the game unless I'm feeling it, feeling healthy, and feeling ready to play," Gronkowski posted on Instagram on Thursday.

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