Over the last several months, there has been nonstop chatter around former NFL star tight end Rob Gronkowski potential to come out of retirement after stepping away last offseason. Gronkowski had continued to head down the beaten path in various interviews that he was happy with his decision to step away from the game after nine years. However, that has all changed on Tuesday as he agreed to return to the field and was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for at least one season because of his desire to play alongside his longtime teammate Tom Brady.
It was a move that quickly transpired, but it also proves all along that Gronkowski was only going to return to playing football for only Brady and nobody else, not even New England Patriots Bill Belichick.
Rob Gronkowski traded to the Buccaneers, reunited with Tom Brady
The talk around Gronkowski hasn’t changed over the last several months as he continued to hint at possibly returning to the NFL at some point down the line.
That ramped up another notch as he voiced on Monday during an interview with “Watch What Happens Live” on Monday that he would be interested in playing again with Brady. He also went the route of stating that he’s staying in shape, which was revealed he recently ramped up things on that front because of his recent involvement with the WWE through Wrestlemania.
That has quickly moved to the front of Gronkowski, informing the Patriots on Tuesday that he would like to play with the Buccaneers alongside Brady. Within the hour of this report surfacing, New England agreed to move him along a seventh-round pick to Tampa Bay for a fourth-round pick. Gronkowski still has one year worth $10 million on his deal.
The speed of how quickly a trade was agreed upon, along with a physical already being done by Gronkowski, is nothing short of remarkable that effectively reunites him with Brady. Beyond that, it speaks to Gronkowski, only having the desire to return to playing football in one ideal situation for one person.
Rob Gronkowski only wanted to play for Tom Brady, not Bill Belichick
There is a tremendous amount of respect between the Patriots and Gronkowski that has developed over the years.
However, it had become quite clear over time that Gronkowski’s true allegiance was beyond the franchise. He garnered a strong bond with Brady while the two have cultivated an incredible rapport on the field that saw them become of the league’s greatest 1-2 combinations in the passing game.
With the 42-year-old’s standing with the team withering a bit over the last couple of years and the franchise leaning toward changing the guard, it put Gronkowski out of the plans as well. He had been dealing with injuries throughout his career that pushed him to contemplate retirement after Super Bowl 52.
During that span, the Patriots under Belichick’s direction tried to move on from the situation as they had agreed to trade Gronkowski to the Detriot Lions. That deal was never completed as he voiced he would retire if he couldn’t play alongside Brady, which forced the Patriots hand.
From that moment on, it’s become crystal clear that he didn’t desire to play the game anymore if it wasn’t next to Brady.
What to expect from Rob Gronkowski in 2020 season
There will be an adjustment period for Gronkowski after taking a year off, but it could prove to be highly beneficial for his overall health.
The star tight end needed time off to allow his body to heal and recuperate from the nine years of the physical pounding he took with the Patriots. At the same time, Gronkowski will need to get back into “football shape” to get prepared again for the physicality that he will endure.
The expectations will be high about what he brings to the table, but regardless of how much he has left in the tank, he has proven to be a bonafide red zone target. Like Brady, Gronkowski will have to learn a new playbook, but he will have the luxury of possessing established chemistry with the star quarterback.
All in all, it has the shaping of being a promising situation for him in Tampa Bay alongside Brady once more.