“If I go back to play football, it’s going to be for the Bucs,” Gronkowski told SB Nation’s Debbie Emery ahead of the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
Gronkowski, a free agent, played the last two seasons for the Bucs after coming out of retirement in 2020 after an injury-riddled career in New England. He told Emery “the Buccaneers’ situation is just too good if I decide to go back and play” and added, “I love all my teammates” in Tampa.
“They are all great teammates and all selfless players, they are there for the team and what’s best for the team and the whole organization,” Gronkowski told Emery.
The Bucs’ recent head coaching change also doesn’t impact coming back, Gronkowski told Emery. He added that he “loved playing for Coach [Bruce] Arians” but had to mention that new head coach Todd Bowles was once a rival in the AFC East.
“He’s a great coach, he was a coach for the [New York] Jets for a little bit so he was actually one of my rivals [at the time] for a couple of years,” Gronkowski told Emery. “He’s a great dude, I’ve been with him for the past two years, he draws up great schemes and I think he’s going to do a great job at the Buccaneers.”
The latest Bucs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bucs newsletter here!
Gronkowski Breaks Silence on Contract Status
Contract talks haven’t started for Gronkowski, which he told Emery. Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said the week before that the Bucs don’t have a contract written up for him yet.
“That will start if I decide that I want to play,” Gronkowski said. “There’s no reason to do that while there’s a decision to be made first. It’s all about if I decide to.”
According to Spot Trac, Gronkowski could command up to $9.5 million this season. He made $8 million in 2021.
Gronkowski Remains Focused on Other Ventures
Gronkowski made it clear that he just wants to focus on other things besides football for now. Besides his appearance on Nickelodeon, he has many other business ventures such as promoting various products and causes plus his NFL Draft party in Las Vegas.
“It actually feels good right now to be free — not having any football over my head, working out when I want to work out,” Gronkowski told Emery.
Gronkowski initially told the media after the season ended on Jan. 23 that he would take some time to think about next season. He joked on TMZ Sports later that month that his gut instinct is to retire, but he then told people at a Tampa area barbershop that there’s “a very good chance” of returning. He also told late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel that he still works out but only “two or three times a week” thus far.
“I love my teammates, I love the Buccaneers’ organization, everyone from A to Z, they’re all great people and it’s a lot of fun to go to work there. Right now, I am just chilling and doing other things like hosting the ‘Kids’ Choice Awards’ show and throwing a Gronk Beach party.”