NFL

Rob Gronkowski Said Change of Scenery Was a Big Factor in NFL Return

It’s become pretty difficult to figure out Rob Gronkowski. After many months of insisting his retirement from the NFL was legit and he was done with the game, he’s back. Not only is he back, but he’ll now be dressed in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform. In Gronk’s latest message on why he returned, he said he wanted to see what it was like playing “somewhere else.”

Rob Gronkowski’s football career

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 06: Former New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski looks on during the game between the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets at TD Garden on December 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Nuggets 108-95. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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Rob Gronkowski played his college football at Arizona. He proved to be a steal in the 2010 NFL draft when the New England Patriots selected him in the second round. Gronkowski, a 6-foot-6, 260-pound tight end, was taken with the 42nd overall selection.

Gronkowski, a big-time blocker and pass catcher, made an impact right away. In his rookie season, he caught 10 touchdown passes and had just 42 receptions. In his second season, Gronk was a much bigger part of the offense, catching 90 passes for 1,327 yards and a league-high 17 touchdowns.

During that sophomore season, Gronkowski made the first of his five Pro Bowls. In five of his nine NFL seasons, he recorded double-digit touchdown receptions. Gronk finished his career with 79 touchdowns and had 7,861 receiving yards. He was part of three Super Bowl championships and ‘retired’ from the game after the 2018 season.

Gronkowski calls it quits

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It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

Rob Gronkowski battled injuries throughout his career. Only in his first two seasons did he play in all 16 games. He played in just seven games in 2013 after tearing his ACL. Gronk bounced back strongly in the 2014 season with 12 touchdowns and 1,124 yards in 15 games. He was named the league’s Comeback Player of the year by both the Associated Press and the Pro Football Writers Association.

Gronk posted his retirement announcement on Instagram where it read in part: “It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today,” Gronkowski wrote. “I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010.”

Gronk sat out the 2019 season and then watched quarterback Tom Brady leave the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers via free agency. Sure enough, Gronkowski eventually said he wanted to return to football and was interested in joining Brady in Tampa. The Patriots traded Gronk for a fourth-round pick.

Gronk was looking for change of scenery

When Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement and became a member of the new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he said there had been no plan in the works for him to join Tom Brady. According to The Tampa Bay Times, Gronkowski said he wanted to see what it was like to play somewhere else.

“No, no, that actually was never the case,‘’ Gronkowski said. “As a player, you always want to see what it is like somewhere else. (I) thought of that before, definitely after playing nine years in the NFL and I also thought about it when I came out of retirement. This is an opportunity to go see what it’s like somewhere else, to go see what it’s like in the NFL on another squad. There’s so many players that bounce around on so many different teams. I loved my time in New England, no doubt about it. But it was another opportunity that presented.”

Gronkowski said his return to the game just happened to coincide with Brady’s free-agent move to Tampa. “But no, we never really talked about that before,” he said. “It kind of just happened. (With) my retirement and him hitting free agency, it just kind of lined up like that.‘’