Bucs Tight Ends Send Strong Messages to Lightning

OJ Howard & Rob Gronkowski

Getty OJ Howard and Rob Gronkowski converse at Buccaneers training camp in 2020.

Tampa Bay’s O.J. Howard became the latest Buccaneers tight end to jump on the Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup bandwagon.

Howard tweeted “go Bolts” and “we on fire” amid the Lightning’s 6-3 Game 3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday. The Lightning struck early in Montreal and took a 3-0 series lead.

Fellow Bucs tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate likewise have shown their support of the local NHL team, one win away from back-to-back Stanley Cup titles. The Bucs hope to add a repeat of their own in 2021 after winning Super Bowl LV last season.

Howard missed most of the 2020 season with an injury early in the season against the Los Angeles Chargers. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians expects to have Howard back this coming season.


Gronkowski Urges Lightning to Repeat, Plays Goalie

Gronkowski visited a Lightning practice in May and gave the team a mini pep talk plus shooting some pucks and playing goalie with the team. A couple of his brothers came with him, too.

“You guys are going for two. I’m going for five (Super Bowl rings), so  you guys are going to have to catch up,” Gronkowski said playfully on The Gronks video. “Coach (Jon) Coop, you guys are going to win another?”

“This is the group that is going to do it,” Cooper replied.


Gronk the NHL Goalie!? Gronk and Bros Play Hockey with the Reigning Stanley Cup Champions!Gronk and his brothers come together with the Tampa Bay Lightning – watch the Gronks and the Lightning players shoot on All Star Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, and then it's Gronk's turn to get in goal! • Subscribe → youtube.com/thegronks • Alex Killorn on Instagram → instagram.com/akillorn17/ • Vasy on Instagram → instagram.com/andreivasilevskiy88/ Watch our previous…2021-05-19T18:02:30Z

“I was a big hockey fan growing up my whole life. I played until the ninth grade, so it was a pleasure just to get down here and see you guys set the example on how to bring a championship to Tampa,” Gronkowski said. “And then the (Tampa Bay) Rays, they almost won it, and you left it on the table for us to do it. So what did we do? We won a championship, too, baby.”

Gronkowski joined the Bucs in 2020 after a year out of football and caught 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had two touchdown catches in the Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs.


Brate Revs Up the Crowd

Brate made some noise on the jumbotron during the Lightning’s semifinal series with the New York Islanders on June 15. He slipped in a little excitement for the coming Bucs season, too.

“Let’s make some noise for your Bucs, for your Bolts. Let’s go Lightning,” he yelled.

Last season, Brate gave the Bucs a jolt in the passing game with a touchdown in the NFC Championship game at Green Bay. He had 28 receptions for 282 yard two touchdowns in the regular season.


Arians, Brady Boost Lightning

Arians and quarterback Tom Brady likewise have shown their support of the Lightning in another run to the Stanley Cup.

Brady did a hype video for the Lightning in June during the quarterfinal playoff series with the Carolina Hurricanes.

“All the Tampa Bay Lightning fans, let’s do this again Lightning,” Brady said. “Let’s go for two people! Let’s keep Lord Stanley in the Bay, right where he belongs. Let’s get the Cup again! Go Bolts! Let’s go!”

Arians sent some encouragement before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Similar to the Bucs, the Lightning players showed their support during the Bucs’ Super Bowl run and picked a Bucs home game as one of the first destinations for the Cup last year.


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