Rob Gronkowski Returns to Familiar Football Role

Rob Gronkowski

Getty Rob Gronkowski will serve as an honorary team captain in the Arizona spring game on April 15.

Rob Gronkowski will take the football field again soon but not as a player.

The former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end will serve as an honorary captain at the Arizona Wildcats spring game on April 15. Gronkowski played three seasons for the Wildcats from 2007 to 2009 before his storied NFL career with the Patriots and Bucs.

While Gronkowski will captain one team in the Arizona spring game, his older brother, Chris, will captain the other squad. Chris Gronkowski played for the Wildcats from 2007 to 2008 followed by a four-year career in the NFL as a fullback after going undrafted. The older Gronkowski spent stints with the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, and then-San Diego Chargers between 2010 and 2013.

It won’t mark the first time Rob Gronkowski returned to his college roots. He coached one of the Wildcats squads in the 2021 spring game against former Patriots star linebacker and teammate Tedy Bruschi, who played for Arizona from 1991 to 1995.

Gronkowski also pulled off a stunt leading up to that game when he set a world record as he caught a football that fell 600 feet from a helicopter. The Wildcats also inducted him into the program’s ring of honor that week.

In college, Gronkowski impressed as a tight end with 75 receptions for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns in 22 games, but injuries hindered his draft stock. He went on to become one of the all-time great tight ends with the Patriots as he helped the team win three Super Bowls.

Gronkowski retired after the 2018 seasons due to years of injuries, but he returned to the game with the Bucs as he joined forces with former Patriots and Bucs quarterback Tom Brady for a second time. Gronkowski helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl in the 2020 season, and he retired a second time after the 2021 season. He finished his career, for now, with 621 receptions for 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns amid four All-Pro honors and five Pro Bowls.

Gronkowski Jokes About Return to Football Again

Gronkowski has solidified staying retired since the 2022 season, but that didn’t stop him from joking about a comeback again. He just did it north of the U.S.-Canada border this time around when he spoke at the 30th Annual JCC Sports Dinner in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday, March 28.

“I’m coming back to play in the CFL,” Gronkowski joked.

JCC Sports Dinner host James Cybulski then informed Gronkowski of British Columbia Lions head coach and general manager Rick Campbell’s attendance at the dinner.

“What joke? I’m serious. Coach here? Bring up a contract,” Gronkowski added humorously.

Brady Also Joked About Playing in the CFL

Gronkowski wasn’t the first big-name football star to joke about playing in the CFL. Brady joked about it last fall after a Bucs win in Germany, his fourth international game win.

“I’m hoping I can get to go play in the CFL at some point,” Brady said on the “Let’s Go!” podcast in November 2022. “Really see what I can make of myself up there because things have gone pretty well outside of the country.”

Brady retired from football for a second time in February after a 23-year NFL career.

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