Rob Gronkowski has made his final decision regarding a return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 33-year-old tight end, who announced his decision to retire on June 21, commented on a possible return while speaking to ESPN’s Mike Reiss on July 12. Gronkowski declared he is “done with football.” Furthermore, though he said he would field a call from longtime teammate Tom Brady on a recruiting pitch to return, he “wouldn’t go back” to playing.
“I’m done with football,” Gronkowski said while at an event in Boston. “Love the game. Definitely blessed with all the opportunities the game of football has given me, and relationships — obviously here in New England Patriots for nine seasons and down in Tampa for two. But done with football and stepping my feet into the business world, business ventures, and just seeing what’s out there and where I can find my place.”
Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, previously had left the door open for a return at some point in the future. However, the five-time Pro Bowler shut down Rosenhaus’ idea.
“Drew is the No. 1 football agent out there, and he loves anything that has to do with the NFL and loves to see his players always playing,” he said. And in a reference to Brady, Gronkowski said, “Ask him how he’s doing. Tell him I’m doing good. But I wouldn’t go back to football — no.”
Gronkowski Retired After Posting Best Season Since 2017
Gronkowski had previously unretired in 2020 after spending the 2019 season on the sidelines. The four-time Super Bowl champion ended up playing two seasons for the Buccaneers, catching 100 passes for 1,425 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Despite playing in four fewer games in 2021 than in the previous season, Gronkowski started to look more like his prime self than the older version. He made 55 receptions on 89 targets for 802 yards and six touchdowns. Every single one of those categories was his highest number since the 2017 season, the last time he posted a Pro Bowl campaign.
According to Pro Football Focus, Gronkowski posted a 79.5 offensive grade and 86.7 receiving grade last season. Those were his highest grades since 2017.
While Gronkowski was regaining the form that made him a four-time First-Team All-Pro selection with the New England Patriots, he went out on his terms.
Unfortunately for Bucs fans, that means they won’t be seeing Gronk spike touchdowns at Raymond James Stadium moving forward.
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Gronkowski Will Host USA Today’s High School Sports Awards Show
Just because Gronkowski won’t be returning to the football field doesn’t mean he won’t continue to be involved with the game.
Gronkowski and 14-year NFL veteran Vernon Davis will host this year’s USA Today High School Sports awards show on July 31, celebrating the achievements of high school athletes across the country.
“These young athletes are incredibly impressive, and it’s truly an honor to recognize them for their talents and commitment to their sport,” Gronkowski said via a press release from Gannett. “Meeting these athletes now is so fun because I know many of them will continue to play the game they love professionally.”
The awards show premieres on 8 p.m. Eastern time on the USA Today High School Sports Awards website. It will also be shown on YouTube and the USA Today channel available on most smart televisions and devices, according to the press release.