Former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski on Tuesday announced his involvement in a CBD company and said he would advocate for use of the cannibis extract to help athletes in the NFL and other professional sports leagues.
In a highly-anticipated press conference, Gronkowski also left the door open to a possible return to football if he reaches "another level with my body" and is still passionate about the sport.
The future Hall-of-Fame tight end said he was partnering with Abacus Health Products to launch a line of "all natural fitness-oriented recovery products" after the company's CBDMEDIC line aided his recovery from injuries sustained during his nine-year NFL career.
"Now you can call just call me 'Mr. Recovery,'" he joked.
Gronkowski said he began using the products after his father recommended them, and that he is "for the first time in more than a decade... pain-free and that is a big deal.
"I am here today to appeal to the sports governing bodies of the world to update their position on CBD, whether it's the NBA, MLB or NFL," he said. "It's just time."
Rumors had been swirling for months about Gronkowski's next step, including that he might eventually make a return to the field.
Gronkowski said multiple injuries and nine surgeries took an "absolute beating on my body and my soul.
"I needed to recover," he said, becoming emotional. "I was not in a good place. Football was bringing me down and I didn't like it and I was losing that joy in life."
He did not, however, rule out a return to the field.
"Whether that time comes, down in the future, if I have the desire to play football again; if I feel passionate about football again; if I'm feeling like I'm ready to be out there on the field, I will go back to football."
Asked if any return would be with the Patriots, Gronkowski noted he has a year left on his contract with the team.
"So no matter what, that's going to have to happen," he said.
Speculation had been rampant about Gronkowski's next step, including that he and girlfriend Camille Kostek could appear on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." However, their names were not among those revealed as cast members last week.
Many had also speculated that Gronk could move to Hollywood or join WWE.
The future Hall of Famer announced his retirement via Instagram on March 24, shortly after the Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl championship.
Known as "Gronk," he was a fan favorite who helped the team win half of their championships and selected to the NFL Pro Bowl five times.