"The season's a grind. It's up and down. I'm not going to lie and sit here and say every week is the best," Gronkowski said, according to NBC Sports Boston's Nick Goss.
"Not at all. You go up, you go down. You can take some serious hits. To tell you the truth, just try and imagine getting hit all the time and trying to be where you want to be every day in life. It's tough, it's difficult. To take hits to the thigh, take hits to your head. Abusing your body isn't what your brain wants. When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You've got to be able to deal with that, too, throughout the season. You gotta be able to deal with that in the games."
Gronkowski has long kept his retirement plans close to the vest, repeatedly telling reporters he doesn't know what his future holds. The five-time Pro Bowler contemplated walking away after the Super Bowl last year, and is believed to be considering it again as his ninth season winds down.
The 29-year-old, who's endured numerous major injuries throughout his career, had one of his least-productive campaigns in 2018. He did, however, step up in the AFC Championship Game, posting six catches for 79 yards in the Patriots' overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
"Everyone expects us players to be wide awake every single day, and it's like, 'Yo, I just took 50 hits to my head' - or not to my head, but I'm saying I just took 50 collisions, and then like the next day everyone wants you to be up," Gronkowski added.
"They want practice full speed, next week they want the game to be full speed, but they don't understand sometimes what players are going through with their bodies, with their minds. That's why I've been saying you see a shift in players in games where people are down the whole game, and then you see, all of a sudden, the next week it's like, 'How did this team just go from one switch to the other?'"
Gronkowski has spent his entire career with the Patriots. He'll be going for his third career Super Bowl ring on Sunday when New England faces the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta.