The New England Patriots were surprised when tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement after a nine-year NFL career all spent in Foxborough. However, rumors are around that Gronkowski will make a return at some point next season if veteran quarterback Tom Brady asks him to. Recently, Gronkowski shot down rumors of a possible comeback, saying he’s happily retired, but one teammate – Wide Receiver Julian Edelman – claimed there is a possibility that the tight end will return and help the Patriots’ quest for a seventh Super Bowl trophy.

During an interview with Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast, Edelman was asked about the possibility of Gronkowski returning to the Patriots.

“A percentage? … I’d say, maybe, an 11 percent chance,” said Edelman, adding that like many Patriots fans, he’s a fan of a possible Gronkowski comeback. Edelman also called Gronkowski a valuable player to the Patriots.

However, Edelman understood that Gronkowski was banged up during his nine-year stint with New England, which takes out the fun in playing football. “I can speak for myself on that. When you’re dealing with things — ankle, foot, back … Football is amazing when you feel great. … But it’s not easy, especially when you get older and have accumulated a lot of injury,” Edelman explained. A second round pick by the Patriots in the 2010 NFL Draft, Gronkowski tallied 521 catches for 795 yards and 79 touchdowns.

Edelman: Gronkowski will be missed

In a separate interview with WFAN's "Boomer & Gio," Edelman said the Patriots will sorely miss Gronkowski’s presence on and off the field. According to Edelman, the Patriots will not only miss Gronkowski’s athletic ability but also his locker room presence. “I’ve played nine or 10 years with the guy, and to see him every day and how he was as a professional — he never really had a bad day,” Edelman said.

The veteran wide receiver said Gronkowski provided inspiration and strength to his fellow players by being jolly and fun inside the locker room, especially late in the season where all of the players are banged up. “That’s just Gronk, and those are the things you’re going to miss and obviously you’re going to miss his attributes,” said Edelman.

Without Gronkowski, the Patriots are thin at tight end with Matt LaCosse as their No. 1 option. The Patriots signed lured veteran Ben Watson out of retirement, but he is suspended for the first four games of the season. The Patriots also signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins but he was released so he can deal with his personal issues.

Brady responds to Namath’s praise

In an interview with Howard Stern, Hall of Fame quarterback and New York Jets legend, Joe Namath dubbed Brady as the greatest quarterback of all time because of his consistency in delivering big-time plays after big-time plays. Brady responded to Namath’s praise through his Instagram account, saying “I’m flattered and humbled.” In his post, Brady also dubbed Namath the greatest of all time. Brady also took the time to tell Stern that he’s still waiting for the invite to his radio show.