"Look, I love that guy. I am so happy that he is enjoying his time. I am happy that he's enjoying his life," Brady said Monday during his weekly appearance on WEEI. "He seems to really be doing a lot of great things. He knows how I feel about him. I want what's best for him. He's the only person that can make those decisions. So I don't lobby for those things."
Gronkowski, 30, recently joined FOX Sports as an NFL analyst. In his debut Thursday, he acknowledged that a comeback is possible, hours after Patriots owner Robert Kraft said his team will "always pray and hope" that Gronkowski decides to reverse his retirement.
New England's offense is first in the league in points per game through six weeks but has lacked a legitimate threat at tight end. Ryan Izzo has 144 yards (seventh on the team) and one touchdown on six catches, while Matt LaCosse has 55 yards in four appearances.
Brady said Gronkowski has earned his retirement after helping deliver three Super Bowl titles to New England.
"He's given actually a hell of a lot to our team already over the course of a long period of time, and I think people should be very appreciative for what he's brought to the team and what he's brought to the region," said Brady. "I think he's a very special guy. He's just in a different phase of his life."
Gronkowski was widely considered the best tight end in the league throughout his nine-year career, but the 30-year-old struggled with a wide variety of injuries, including multiple back and knee ailments.
Last season, those injuries appeared to finally take their toll. Gronkowski caught 47 passes for 682 yards and just three touchdowns, a far cry from his previous Hall of Fame level of production.