Two years ago, Tom Brady convinced Rob Gronkowski to join him in Tampa Bay following a one-year retirement. Now, it appears Gronkowski is making a similar pitch to former Patriots teammate Julian Edelman.
Gronkowski, who has been non-committal on his plans for the 2022 season, said he will resume his career if Edelman joins him and former Patriots teammate Tom Brady in Tampa. Edelman retired last offseason after a 12-year career with the Patriots that included three Super Bowls as well as an MVP award following New England’s win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
“Oh yeah, if Julian signs with the Bucs right now, I’m coming back for a whole ‘nother year,” Gronkowski told Sports Illustrated. “Hands down. I was just with him last night. He needs to sign with the Bucs.”
Edelman, who turns 36 on May 22, is second all-time in Patriots history in receptions (620), second in receiving yards (6,822), and ninth in touchdown receptions (36). Edelman went over 1,000 yards for a season on three occasions that included his 100-catch, 1,117-yard, six touchdown campaign in 2019, his final season in New England with Brady as his quarterback.
A seventh-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Edelman is one of the most accomplished postseason receivers in league annals. His playoff totals of 118 receptions for 1,442 career yards is second all-time to NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Edelman’s biggest playoff catches include his game-winning touchdown reception in Super Bowl XLIX and his fingertip catch during the Patriots’ rally in Super Bowl LI.
Injuries plagued Edelman during his final season in Foxborough. In six games, Edelman caught 21 passes for 315 yards, his lowest total since 2012. He retired less than four months into the 2021 offseason.
“I always said, I’m gonna go until the wheels come off,” Edelman said upon announcing his retirement. “They finally have fallen off.”
As far as Gronkowski is concerned, the Buccaneers selected two tight ends during the 2022 NFL Draft in the event that Gronkowski doesn’t come back for the upcoming season. The Buccaneers are still keeping the door open in the event that Gronkowski does decide to resume his career.
“I’m still giving him that time,” Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said during the Draft, via the Tampa Bay Times. “We still talk. I think it didn’t matter if we drafted two tight ends. It wouldn’t matter. I think Rob welcomes that — the more the merrier for him. So that doesn’t show our hand on or foretell what’s going to happen in the future.”