Some Hall of Fame voters are reluctant to say Gronk will make it in on the first-ballot

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It will still be a few months before we learn whether New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski is returning for his tenth NFL season. So while we wait, speculation has risen over how he would fare as a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer.

But, longevity means a lot to the Hall’s voters - so much that they are hesitant to vote him in on the first ballot.

When Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian spoke to a few members of the Hall’s selection committee, they all agreed that the veteran tight end is incredible at his position, but that his numbers don’t stack up in comparison to some of the guys that are already in.

Take tight end Tony Gonzalez, for example. Over 17 seasons, he racked up 1,325 receptions, 15,127 yards and 111 TDs, while Gronk has 521 catches, 7,861 yards and 79 receiving touchdowns.

Yes, Gronkowski took just nine seasons to put up those numbers, but the length of his career is a big setback to the voters.

“The issue with him will be the brevity of his career,” Mike Chappell of Fox59 Sports in Indy said. “I would almost compare him to Calvin Johnson, who played eight or nine years. He’s way down on the list in terms of career stats. But gosh, when he played, he was elite.”

The last player to make the Hall of Fame on the first ballot who played fewer than 10 NFL season was running back Earl Campbell in 1991. Also, there are currently only three tight ends in the Hall of Fame who lasted less than a decade in the league: John Mackey, Kellen Winslow and Charlie Sanders.

So, if Gronk retires now, he may hurt his first-ballot chances, but there’s no doubt he will make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday.

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