"I love that guy. I'm so happy that he's enjoying his time, his life. He seems to really be doing a lot of great things. He knows how I feel about him. I want what's best for him. He's the only person that can make those decisions. I don't lobby for those things," Brady said Monday morning in his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show."
Gronkowski, who was hired by Fox last week as a football analyst, said on the network that he'll always leave the door open to return. But he's also said that while he could physically play right now, he's mentally not in a place to do so.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, on NFL Network's pregame show Thursday night, said Gronkowski has yet to file his retirement papers and that he can always "pray and hope" that Gronkowski might come out of retirement.
The Patriots are 6-0 but have a string of injuries on offense that have handcuffed Brady. The team has just two tight ends on its roster and one of them, Matt LaCosse, has been in and out of the lineup. LaCosse left Thursday night's win over the New York Giants with a knee injury.
In his radio interview Monday morning, Brady said of Gronkowski: "I have a great relationship with him. He's given a hell of a lot to our team already over a long period of time, and I think people should be very appreciative for what he's brought to the team and what he's brought to the region. I think he's just a very special guy. He's at a different phase of his life."
On Thursday night, Brady moved past Peyton Manning into second place on the NFL's all-time passing yards list, an accomplishment that coach Bill Belichick recognized in the locker room after the game. The gesture caught Brady by surprise.
A game ball for the 🐐— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 11, 2019
Celebrating another milestone for TB12 & a Week 6 win inside the locker room: https://t.co/ParwqHE13I
"That was very nice. That was very, very kind. That was, I would say, unexpected but certainly appreciated," Brady said in the radio interview. "It's pretty cool. I never imagined playing 20 years in the NFL. Peyton was a guy I looked up to because he was so spectacular in every way. Brett Favre is the same.
"You can only do it with the help of so many people, the support of so many people to help me accomplish my dreams, and to accomplish doing something I love to do. There are a lot of people that sacrifice a lot for me. For me, it's thinking of those people and how appreciative I am of them -- my family, my kids, my wife, my teammates, my coaches. It's very special when you can accomplish that because it speaks more to completing passes; it speaks to people making it possible for me to even go out there and do something I love to do."