Rob Gronkowski walked in Julian Edelman‘s shoes once, calling it a career amid nagging injuries. Gronkowski believes Edelman will likewise return to the game.
“I just wish the best for Julian to heal up,” Gronkowski told ESPN’s Mike Greenberg on May 5. “Obviously in his little press conference thing that he said he was going to go until the tires fall off, and he sure has. I’m hoping he heals up. I want the best for him. I’ve been in that situation before.”
Gronkowski retired from the New England Patriots before the 2019 season because of ongoing injuries. The star tight end came out of retirement in 2020 to join former teammate Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. Gronkowski helped the Buccaneers win Super Bowl LV in February, and the four-time All-Pro said he’s never felt better after a season during a March press conference after re-signing with the Bucs for another year.
Edelman’s knee issues sidelined him for all but six games last season with the Patriots. The team terminated his contract due to a failed physical before he announced his retirement on April 12. Edelman not being able to play a full 2021 season came to light when the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian confirmed that a source “familiar with the situation” said Edelman’s knee problems couldn’t be resolved by surgery longterm.
Gronkowski seems much more optimistic about Edelman’s future than any medical prognosis.
“And I believe if Julian truly heals up and whatever’s hurting on him and he fully heals and feels good, I think he’ll be back eventually in the future maybe a year or two away,” Gronkowski told Greenberg. “Let me tell you, he’s just a competitor, so I say if he heals up 100 percent (and) feels good, I think he’ll be back in the NFL, but I don’t know what team (and) I don’t know where.”
“But I think he’s going to at least take this year off. He’s got a lot going on and then he’ll be back if, like I said, he heals up 100 percent then,” Gronkowski added.
“We know Julian didn’t retire,” Brady said on the April 30 show. “Let’s be honest. He’s just too scared to tell Bill (Belichick) he wanted to come to Tampa. I’ve been there.”
Edelman downplayed Brady’s latest pitch, but the retired receiver fueled the speculation almost a month earlier. On April 1, Edelman hinted on Twitter about going to the Bucs with a Pirates of the Caribbean quote but later posted “April Fools”.
Gronkowski jumped on the Edelman-to-Tampa bandwagon early after Edelman announced his retirement. That time, Gronkowski told TMZ Sports that he sees “a 69% percent” chance of Edelman returning.
“He’ll be back,” Gronkowski told TMZ Sports.
Greenberg didn’t ask Gronkowski for a percentage on Edelman returning but joked with the tight end about his former receiver teammate eventually joining the Bucs.
“I don’t know where. I can’t predict the future,” Gronkowski told Greenberg. “I don’t think he’ll play this year.”