Injuries forced Rob Gronkowski to miss a plethora of games late in his Patriots career and it was a major factor in him retiring last offseason. With back surgery among the numerous ailments, some may wonder what version of Gronk we’ll see in Tampa Bay this season.
Coach Bruce Arians sounds like he has high expectations.
“No similarities at all [to 2018 Gronkowski],” Arians recently via the team’s website. “He looks like he was five or six years ago, before all the injuries. The back surgeries have healed, so he’s had a year of healing. He looks to me like he was five or six years ago.”
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Gronkowski Laughing Off Heat Talk
Arians would be even more confident in Gronkowski if he didn’t appear to be having issues with the Florida heat.
“He’s probably in New England shape right now,” Arians said (Greg Auman of TheAthletic.com). “He’s not in Florida shape. The heat’s kicking his ass pretty good. It’s different, man . . . I don’t think he’s ever sweat that much in his life.”
Gronk laughed off the comments from his new coach.
“I’ll take that,” he said (via the team’s website). “I’ll take that compliment for sure. I’m feeling good out there. My body feels good. That’s why I came back to the game and that’s how I want to be moving. I want to be moving like how I was back in the day. No doubt about that.”
Like Tom Brady, Gronkowski enters the 2020 season playing for a non-Patriots team for the first time in his life. The tight end has “no regrets” about how everything played out.
“I feel like I’m supposed to be here,” he said. “That’s definitely in the past and I’m here to play football now. I’m glad to be here. Going out there and just playing ball – it feels good. Let me tell you, the first couple practices, it definitely felt weird. The game was really fast when I first got out there again. The defense felt really fast. As time goes on and as the days go on, I feel better about myself being out there. My confidence keeps going up, the game is slowing down, I’m starting to pick up the offense more. But overall, it’s going good. I have so much more to work on and so much more to improve on, but I am really glad to be here.”
Only One Buccaneers Player Sitting Out
Concerns over the safety of playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic still exist and NFL players have the right to opt-out of the 2020 season. Sixty-nine players have chosen to opt-out, as Pro Football Action captures in its COVID-19 Opt-Out Tracker.
Tackle Brad Seaton is the only member of the Buccaneers on that list. Seaton, who spent 2017 and 2019 on the franchise’s practice squad, was no lock to make the roster, though he could have provided the team with depth on the offensive line.
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