“Ya know I really didn’t have the itch,” Gronkowski told TMZ Sports on Tuesday, January 10. “I just had a couple thoughts throughout the 17 weeks of football. It was about week 10, week 11, week 12, right around there where I was thinking about it, but I really never got the itch. It was just a couple of thoughts.”
“I’m not gonna ever go back to football if I’m just thinking about it and don’t really have that itch. That trigger was not gonna be pulled to go back and play football this year. It was not there, man,” Gronkowski added.
Gronkowski retired in June 2021 after an 11-year career, including two with the Bucs. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, speculated that Gronkowski could return late in the 2022 season, but it never came to fruition.
The Bucs talked with Gronkowski in November 2022, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, but Gronkowski stayed retired. Two unnamed teams called Gronkowski in December after his “I’m kinda bored” tweet, but Gronkowski, again, stuck with his decision.
“I would say just one of a few out there to have teams call, and you can come back and play in the NFL,” Gronkowski told FOX News Digital. “So, that’s definitely a humbling experience. But the mindset is just not there. And I just enjoy my time off and am very content on where I am.”
Gronkowski will stick to broadcasting with FOX and his many endorsements. The will include an on-field appearance at the Super Bowl, however, with a field goal attempt for a live commercial.
Gronkowski to Return for 2023?
Despite his second year-long retirement, the four-time Super Bowl champion turned to a popular movie reference to explain if he could come back again. Gronkowski previously retired in 2019 and unretired in 2020 to join the Bucs.
“Like ‘Dumb and Dumber’, baby. You’re sayin’ there’s a chance,” Gronkowski told TMZ Sports. “You never know. What if someone wanted to throw the whole salary cap at me, baby, or half of the salary cap, then you gotta think about it. Throw me some quarterback money. Then you’re talking, so there’s always a possibility.”
Realistically, the best Gronkowski could do for an annual salary is around $17 million. That’s what Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller makes as the highest-paid player at the position league wide, per Spotrac. Gronkowski only made $8 million in 2021 with the Bucs, per Spotrac.
Gronkowski Believes in Bucs
As season of struggles doesn’t have Gronkowski doubting his former team as the Bucs embark on the playoffs.
“I think they’re going to do some damage,” Gronkowski told FOX Digital. “They definitely can be a dangerous team at any time. You look at the receivers they have, and obviously with Tom [Brady] as the quarterback, he can lead anyone down the field at any time in any given situation. They’re definitely a dangerous team. I think they’re going to put up some points. Mike Evans, I feel like is going to set up, have a pair of touchdowns in the game, and it’s just going to be exciting to see what they do it.”