Just one year after retiring from the NFL, Rob Gronkowski is returning to professional sports — sort of.
The former New England Patriots tight end announced on Twitter Wednesday that he will be sitting ringside to host WWE’s WrestleMania, which will take place over two nights for the first time in its history on April 4 and 5.
“It’s official! I’m hosting @WrestleMania this year…and it’s gonna be too big for just one night,” the 30-year-old tweeted. “For the 1st time, #WrestleMania will be a 2-NIGHT event: Saturday, April 4 AND Sunday, April 5 on @WWENetwork! Tell you more this Friday night on #SmackDown at 8 ET on @FOXTV.”
Gronkowski’s hosting debut on WWE will be a unique one — apart from being the first two-night WrestleMania, the event will also be the first without fans, due to safety precautions to combat the spread of coronavirus.
A partnership between Gronkowski and the WWE has been the subject of speculation even before he retired from the NFL in March 2019. He made a surprise appearance at the 2017 WrestleMania to help his personal friend, wrestler Mojo Rawley, win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Leading up to his WrestleMania announcement, it was largely speculated Gronkowski would join the company as a wrestler. But fans hoping to see Gronkowski get some in-ring action at some point still may have a chance — WWE’s hosts have participated in their fair share of matches before.
“Gronk has mentioned WWE before, that he loves it and said had so much fun doing it,” WWE executive vice president Paul “Triple H” Levesque told Sports Illustrated of Gronkowski in February 2019.
Rawley also felt his friend would be a natural fit for professional wrestling.
“A guy that can move the way he can, just his size and his overall demeanor and charisma, yeah that’s kind of what we recruit around, that’s exactly what we’re looking for here,” he previously told TMZ. “He’d be a perfect fit.”
When asked by PEOPLE in 2018 whether he’d turn to the WWE after his impending retirement from football, Gronkowski was mum on any specific plans.
“I really don’t have any plans set for what I want to do after,” he said. “I’ve done many things in the offseason outside of football, but I wouldn’t say I have anything in my mind that clicks that I will 100 percent want to do after.”
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Rob Gronkowski
“I’ve done many things, so I’m sure that when I’m actually done playing, which I don’t know when it’s going to be, just take year by year, and when I’m done, I’m sure that whatever path, whatever journey I’ll lead to and find appetizing to me, that I love doing, that’s where it’ll take me,” he continued. “It could be anywhere.”