“The Bills do mean a lot to my family and I. We grew up in Buffalo, 25 minutes from the stadium. I was a big Bills fan growing up,” Gronkowski told the media on Wednesday.
Gronkowski will face the Bills as a member of the Bucs for the first time on Sunday, Dec. 12. With his former team in New England, Gronkowski made 69 catches for 1,070 yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 games against the Bills.
As a child, Gronkowski envisioned making plays for the Bills during its run of four Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s — the first which occurred in the Bucs’ former stadium in 1991.
“Takeo Spikes, Eric Moulds, the Jim Kelly era,” Gronkowski said. “Whenever I was in the back yard playing football with my friends, my brothers and I, you line up out wide you’re pretending you’re the receiver they had. Moulds was my favorite player. If you make a stop or big hit you’re acting like Takeo Spikes. The history of the Buffalo Bills goes way back for my family and I from playing in the back yard to watching the games.”
Now it’s making history for the Bucs as the team (9-3) seeks to make a playoff push toward a second-straight Super Bowl run. The Bucs can clinch the NFC South title with a fourth-consecutive win while the Bills (7-5) seek to bounce back from a loss to the Patriots.
“We have a playoff team coming into our house,” Gronkowski said. “There is going to be a lot of pressure. But, they are a good team, they got a winning record. They have a lot of playmakers, a lot of good players on defense. It’s going to be another playoff atmosphere.”
Gronkowski Received Offer from Bills in Free Agency
Gronkowski dipped his toes in free agency last offseason, and the Bills took a shot at signing him in March before he ultimately re-signed with the Bucs later that month.
“We spoke to his representatives about him, definitely,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said according to Pro Football Talk. “Again, just like we do with J.J. Watt or these other guys. We never made an official offer or anything like that. We did check in on him to see if there would be an interest, and I think there was some interest. But at the end of the day, probably would have been an upset for him to leave Tom Brady.”
Instead, Brady and Gronkowski could connect for another touchdown or more against the Bills on Sunday. Brady owns a 32-3 career record against the Bills.
Brady, Gronkowski Inching Toward Touchdown Record
Brady and Gronkowski come into Sunday’s game with 90 touchdown connections in their careers.
The duo connected on No. 90 at Atlanta on Sunday, Dec. 5, in a 30-17 victory. That put them past the former Los Angeles Chargers duo of quarterback Phillip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates, who had 89.
Brady and Gronkowski have a ways to go in order to catch former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receiver Marvin Harrison, who have 112.