Tampa — Saying he’s “bored” about not playing football, retired Rob Gronkowski contacted Boss last month about the possibility of returning to the team.
The Bucs had several talks with Gronkowski around Thanksgiving about the possibility of him reuniting with quarterback Tom Brady to help the struggling team secure a playoff berth.
Gronkowski told the Bucs he was practicing. He and the club discussed several options, including signing the 33-year-old to the training squad to give him two weeks to get back into football form, although they were willing to add him to the active list.
Ultimately, Gronkowski decided to stay retired for the time being.
“It was more of a conversation than anything,” said Boss coach Todd Bowles. “Usually, when you have to think about playing, you probably don’t want to play. When it’s just a discussion, I didn’t think much of it at the time.”
The Bucs are 6-8 but still hold one game in the NFC South going into Sunday night’s game in Arizona.
Gronkowski retired for the first time after the 2018 season with the Patriots. He agreed to join Brady to Tampa Bay in 2020, trading Al Poch for his rights from New England.
Gronkowski played in all 16 regular season games in 2020, catching 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season.
In four postseason games, Gronkowski had eight catches for 110 yards. This included six receptions on seven targets for 67 yards and two touchdowns in the Super Bowl 55 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last season, however, Gronkowski suffered a broken rib and partially punctured lung in a Week 3 loss to the Rams and missed four games. However, he was a factor down the stretch and produced better numbers with 55 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns.
Gronkowski was trending on Twitter Wednesday after tweeting, “I’m kinda bored.”
Revealed Thursday on “Up & Adams” that the tweet was part of a partnership between him and FanDuel and that he had received calls from two anonymous NFL teams in response.
“I hardly ever tweet, actually,” Gronkowski said. “But I’m kind of bored, just people took it because I was immediately getting back into football. It was amazing, actually, how my agent beat me up, and two teams beat me up. It was just crazy my friends were actually beating me up too, like, ” Brother, are you really going back to football? I don’t see this happening. I was like, “You know I’m not.”
Asked by host Kay Adams if the teams he reached out to were the ones he played for, Gronkowski said, “Maybe, and maybe not.”
Adams asked: Is he done with playing professional football forever?
“No, I’m not playing this year,” Gronkowski said. “I can’t tell you what I’m going to do next year or the year after that. You never know. There might be a slight chance.”
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The Bucs can certainly use Gronkowski as a pass blocker. They rank last in the NFL in rushing and average just 3.3 yards per carry.
The Bucs drafted two tight ends, Washington’s Kady Otton (37 receptions, 357 yards, 2 TDs) and Minnesota’s Ko Kieft (seven receptions, 80 yards, 1 TD).
“They’re playing very well,” Bowles said. “I love where they go and how they come in. They do a very good job.”
So Gronkowski will remain retired — for now — though the Bucs will apparently always keep the door open for him.
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