Rob Gronkowski will appear on WWE Smackdown next week as the former NFL star closes in on signing a contract with the sports entertainment company.

Three-time Super Bowl winner Gronkowski retired after helping the New England Patriots to the championship after the 2018 season.

He spent last year as an NFL analyst on FOX and now looks set to do a deal with WWE, with whom he previously appeared at WrestleMania 33 in 2017, assisting his friend Mojo Rawley in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

The 30-year-old has been tipped to appear at this year's WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, should the event go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.

WWE said earlier this week they were close to finalising a deal with Gronkowski, and it was Rawley who broke the news of his Gronkowski's upcoming booking on March 20, which looks likely to precede more regular appearances.

"I talked to Gronk earlier today and I'm here to confirm that the rumours are true, baby," Rawley said on Friday's episode of Smackdown, which was held without fans at the WWE Performance Center in Florida due to COVID-19.

"And whereas nothing is officially signed, what is official is that next week Friday night, live on Smackdown, Rob Gronkowski himself will be in the house. 

"Yes, he will be here. He'll talk about everything that's on his mind. But hey, check this out. Gronk will be here. Mojo will be here. And we're gonna be hyped, so everybody get hyped."