Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Tom Brady ‘hopeful’ Rob Gronkowski returns to Buccaneers: ‘He’s got to make the best decision for himself’

Rob Gronkowski still hasn’t made a decision whether he’ll return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — or any NFL team — with training camp six weeks away. Gronkowski has been taking more time than usual whether he’ll plan to reunite with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers for a third season, find another team, or just walk away from the game once again. 

Brady won’t be pressuring Gronkowski either way. The Buccaneers are “status quo” with Gronkowski until he comes to a decision. 

“I think it’s just, obviously, totally up to him. We’d all love to play with him, but he’s got to make the best decision for himself, and he knows that,” Brady said Thursday. “Anybody that cares about him knows that he is doing what’s right for him, which is trying to figure it out. 

“We don’t have training camp for about six weeks, so whatever he has to do to figure it out. I think we will be hopeful if he does. And if he doesn’t, we’ve still got to go out there and figure out what to do.”

An injury-riddled 2021 season caused Gronkowski to miss five games, but he still finished with 55 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns. He also had nine catches for 116 yards and a touchdown in two postseason games. 

Gronkowski is fifth in NFL history for receiving yards by a tight end (9,286) and third in receiving touchdowns by a tight end (92). His 98 catches for 1,389 yards in the playoffs are the third-most by any player in postseason history, and his 15 receiving touchdowns are the second-most in playoff history. 

Gronkowski told CBS Sports back in March he’s taking it “day-by-day” on his 2022 plans. The future Hall of Fame tight end has ventured into the NFT world over the past year, teaming up with Tom Brady’s co-founded NFT company, Autograph, on several collections. 

If Gronkowski does return to football, he’ll enter his 12th season and will be 33 years old. The Buccaneers being Super Bowl contenders may play a huge factor regarding Gronkowski to give it a go for one more season. 

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