Will Rob Gronkowski retire? Buccaneers TE's decision on 2022 is TBD, not tied to Tom Brady

1 year ago 133

Written By Jacob Camenker


Rob Gronkowski 1-11 GettyImages-ftr. (Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski's future with the Buccaneers appears to be up in the air.

The Tampa Bay tight end, widely viewed as the greatest to ever play in the NFL, spoke about his future at the Bucs' end-of-season media availability. He wouldn't commit to playing in 2022 and said that he needs three to five weeks to process the end of the season and look at what his next step may be.

"You can't make a decision in that mindset," Gronkowski said, per The Athletic.

MORE: What went wrong for Bucs vs. Rams?

Gronkowski, 32, has already retired once. He called it quits after the 2018 NFL season, his ninth with the Patriots, and spent 2019 out of football. However, Tom Brady lured him back to the NFL and convinced him to play for the Bucs, where he has spent each of the last two seasons.

Now, both Gronk and Brady are mulling their futures. Brady, 44, wouldn't announce if he was returning for the 2022 season, and appears to be legitimately considering retirement despite posting the second-most passing yards in NFL history (5,316) and widely being considered a top-two MVP candidate.

Gronk and Brady are close. Are their decisions connected? Not necessarily, according to Gronkowski, who said he would consider playing even if Brady wasn't going to quarterback the Buccaneers.

"There could be a scenario like that," Gronkowski said. "I'd never throw anything off the board because you never know how anything's going to play out."

IYER: What's next for Tom Brady, Buccaneers?

Of course, it's worth noting that Gronkowski has only expressed an interest in playing with Brady at quarterback during his career. He once threatened to retire if he was traded away from Brady and the Patriots, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, while his agent Drew Rosenhaus has said before that Gronkowski only returned from retirement to play with Brady.

That makes it seem like Gronkowski would retire if Brady calls it quits, but perhaps his tune has changed after playing with his Buccaneers teammates. He spoke glowingly of his teammates and the Tampa Bay locker room during his postseason availability.

"That's what makes football so great, is having that special bond with your teammates," Gronkowski said. "It's very hard to get that anywhere else in life. To have a team where everyone works together, to have this many people on a team, to just build those relationships and bonds that we all have in this locker room, I mean, it's something special to have that. This locker room was definitely up there. Everyone was very close."

So maybe, Gronkowski will stick around even without Brady if he craves that camaraderie.

MORE: Antonio Brown trolls Bucs after playoff loss vs. Rams

All that said, Gronk's future is murky right now. The Bucs should have a better idea of whether he will be available before he hits free agency. If he does retire, Cameron Brate will likely assume the top tight end spot on the Tampa Bay depth chart.


NFL overtime history: Revisiting the 11 playoff games that have gone to OT since 2010 rule change

NFL overtime history: Revisiting the 11 playoff games that have gone to OT since 2010 rule change


NFL power rankings: 3 reasons why Chiefs, 49ers, Rams, Bengals will (and won't) win Super Bowl 56

NFL power rankings: 3 reasons why Chiefs, 49ers, Rams, Bengals will (and won't) win Super Bowl 56


NFL playoff picks, predictions: Rams solve 49ers on third try, Chiefs beat Bengals in championship games

Bill Bender's NFL championship picks


NFL overtime: 13 playoff games that have fueled call for change in OT format

BENDER: OT playoff game-changers

Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen

Patrick Mahomes ran from Chiefs celebration to hug Josh Allen: 'I have a lot of respect for Pat'

Patrick Mahomes left Chiefs celebration to hug Josh Allen

Read Entire Article