Tom Brady apparently hinted to teams during free agency that Rob Gronkowski might return


Rob Gronkowski sent shockwaves around the NFL on Tuesday when he made the decision to come out of retirement after a year away from football. Although the move shocked nearly everyone, it appears that multiple teams around the NFL might have actually known that a Gronk return was in the works thanks to a hot tip from Tom Brady.

According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Brady was apparently telling teams during his free agency tour that if they signed him, there was a good chance they’d also be getting Gronk. 

“As soon as Brady went to Tampa I started hearing rumors about this, and I know I wasn’t alone,” Rapoport said during an interview on WEEI in Boston on Wednesday. “He told people during the process, teams in the process who were actually interested in offers that he wanted to bring Gronk with him.”

Talk about the ultimate package deal: BRADY AND GRONK. 

Now that conch tweet from Brady makes a lot more sense

During an interview on Wednesday, Gronk was actually asked how he ultimately came to the decision to return to football, and apparently, the seeds for his return were planted after a conversation with Brady back in February.  

“We rarely talked about what his decision was going to be, but we did talk about, for one second, we talked just real quick,” Gronk said. “I said, ‘Hey, I’m kind of getting that fire underneath me again.’ I said I’m definitely interested in the decision you make. I didn’t put any pressure on him, but I said If there’s a right opportunity out there and you go somewhere and that opportunity is right — even if you go back to the Patriots and I feel like the opportunity is right — there’s a possible chance I would definitely love to reconnect, and that’s where the conversation started a little bit. And he was all fired up and juiced up about it.”

The conversation happened before Brady became a free agent, which means the former Patriots quarterback went into free agency knowing that Gronk might be following him to his new team, so it makes a lot of sense that Brady would have used that as a selling point during his home-based free agency tour. 

Of all the teams going after Brady in free agency, Rapoport noted that the Buccaneers and Chargers both knew Gronk might return, but it’s unclear who else Brady might have told. If the Chargers had added Brady, they would have had the best tight end duo in the NFL with Gronk and Hunter Henry.  

Of course, even if Brady was adamant that Gronk was going to return, that might have scared off a team like the Chargers. To get Gronk, the team that signed Brady was going to have to pull off a trade with the Patriots, and there’s no guarantee that Bill Belichick would have agreed to a trade that would keep Gronk in the AFC, so in the end, the Buccaneers might have been the only landing spot that made sense if Brady wanted to bring his favorite tight end with him. 

Now that Gronk’s out of retirement, he definitely sounds excited about catching passes from the guy who’s thrown him nearly every pass that he’s ever caught in his career. 

“Playing with Tom is special,” Gronk said Wednesday. “To build a connection with a quarterback is special. You see it many times with many other players, they can switch teams and they might not have the same chemistry they as they had [with their old quarterback]. We have a great chemistry out there and every time we get together, it’s just like the old days. It doesn’t matter if we take a month off or six months apart, we just go out there and we’re throwing the ball like it’s a normal practice.”

During their nine years together in New England Gronk caught 78 touchdown passes from Brady and now they’ll be looking to add to that total in Tampa Bay. Gronk has been to the postseason during every year of his NFL carer and if that streak is going to continue, he’s going to have to help the Buccaneers end their 13-year playoff drought, which is the longest in the NFC and second-longest in the NFL. 





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