Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, whose on-field heroics were matched only by his larger than life persona off the gridiron, is nearing a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment, according to published reports.
Citing FS1′s “WWE Backstage” program, ESPN reported the fun-loving Gronk is “deep in talks” with the pro wrestling promotion, though it’s not clear what role he’ll play with the company.
Gronkowski’s agent and the WWE declined to comment when reached by the Globe Wednesday.
Gronk, 30, announced his retirement from the NFL last year after nine seasons and three Super Bowl titles with the Pats.
A second-round pick out of Arizona who fell in the draft because of questions about his back, Gronkowski caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in nine seasons, all with the Patriots. He emerged right away as a dominant force, catching 10 touchdowns as a rookie in 2010 and setting records for a tight end with 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns in his second season.
It’s long been speculated the Gronk, who famously tackled WWE star Jinder Mahal during a match at WrestleMania in 2017, would cement a long-term relationship with the company when his football days were done.
The carnival atmosphere of pro wrestling would appear to suit the charismatic former tight end, who’s remained in the public eye as an NFL studio analyst for Fox Sports, a host of a massive Super Bowl bacchanal on the beach in Miami, and a pitchman for CBD products, among other high-profile ventures.
Ben Volin of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.