Tom Brady Gives Mixed Signals on Rob Gronkowski Retirement

Tom Brady

Getty Tom Brady voiced his appreciation of Rob Gronkowski and teased hope of the star tight end's comeback.

While Tom Brady clearly gave Rob Gronkowski a heartfelt send-off message after his Tuesday, June 21, retirement announcement, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers potentially hinted at his sidekick’s comeback.

Brady posted a phone call meme in reaction to Gronkowski agent Drew Rosenhaus’ text message to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Rosenhaus wrote, “it would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call. This is just my opinion but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”

Many great players have come out of retirement right before or during the season in the past. Brett Favre did it twice with the Minnesota Vikings, Marshawn Lynch rejoined the Seattle Seahawks right before the 2019 playoffs, and Charles Haley joined the San Francisco 49ers right before the 1998 playoffs.

Gronkowski retired and came back to football once already amid his departure from New England in 2019 and arrival in Tampa Bay in 2020. Brady notably urged Gronkowski out of retirement that time.

In Gronkowski’s latest retirement announcement, he said that the Bucs was the team he picked for his college writing assignment about his dream job. Brady, as many others did, reacted to Gronkowski’s announcement.

“Love you as a man, teammate and friend. One of a kind in every way,” Brady wrote.


Brady also posted his own tribute to Gronkowski, describing the superstar tight end’s greatness as a teammate and person. Nothing in the message nor Gronkowski’s reaction alluded to a potential comeback.

A Closer Look at Brady’s Tribute and Gronk’s Reaction

“Teammate, friend, brother, just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of Gronk,” Brady wrote. “Nobody has ever embodied the idea of ‘leaving it all out on the field’ like Rob has throughout his entire career. Every single snap, I knew that no matter how many people you put in front of him, he was going to get to his spot.”

Brady and Gronkowski connected for 105 career touchdowns between the regular season and playoffs. They also won four Super Bowls together.

“Even more important is the person he was off the field,” Brady added. “Focused when he had to be, and FUN the rest of the time. Having Gronk in your locker room was every NFL player’s dream. I’m proud of all that we’ve accomplished together, and even more excited for all you have ahead of you.”

“Congrats Gronk, you deserve it,” Brady concluded.

Gronkowski reacted with, “thank you Tommy, love you man and thanks for being a crucial part of my 11 year career! I’ll be rooting you on!”

Gronk reaction


Rich Eisen Believes Brady Could Lure Gronk Back

NBC Sports’ Rich Eisen believes Gronkowski could return at Brady’s request in light of Rosenhaus’ comments.

“Right now, Rob’s like, ‘do I want to go to training camp when it’s going to be the summer of  Rob, no,'” Eisen said on his show. “Is Rob going to just like suddenly just sit on a couch and … and just eat 15 bags of a hint of lime [chips]? He’s not going to do that.”

Eisen conjectures Brady will have a convincing to sell Gronkowski.

“Tommy’s saying, ‘hey Gronky, I’m going to FOX man, I’m going to FOX in like six, seven weeks, let’s just do it one last time. If you come back, guess what, the two of us are in together at our Hall of Fame party. Let’s go to the Hall of Fame together. Let’s go out champions together,'” Eisen said.