Gronkowski and Brady face an offseason of uncertainty after the Buccaneers’ 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on January 23. Both Bucs stars are mulling whether to return for the 2022 season. On January 24, Gronkowski, a tight end who’s played 11 years in the NFL, tweeted a tribute to the season. Brady’s company, TB12 Sports, replied to the tweet by subtly encouraging Gronkowski to return.
“Year 11 in the books. What a ride it’s been,” Gronkowski wrote. “Grateful to the Bucs for giving me an opportunity to play another year. To my teammates, thank you for giving everything you had. The sweat we shed & memories made will never be forgotten. Thanks to the #Krewe too. Year 12?”
“You know how we feel about the number 12,” TB12 Sports tweeted in reply.
Brady, who wears No. 12 for the Bucs, has been throwing to Gronkowski for all 11 of the tight end’s seasons, first with the New England Patriots from 2010 to 2018. Despite rumors of Brady’s possible retirement at age 44, Gronkowski alluded to the potential of returning no matter what Brady does.
“There could be a scenario like that,” Gronkowski told the media on January 24. “I will never throw anything off the board because you never know how anything is ever going to play out. It’s the NFL. It’s one of the craziest businesses out there. You see organizations just totally flip year in and year out sometimes.”
Gronkowski also drew reaction from Brady and the Bucs with an Instagram message Tuesday that mirrored his Twitter post. Brady replied with two heart emojis. The Bucs went with a more direct reply — a prayer emoji and a pair of hands emoji.
Gronkowski’s Timeframe for Deciding
Gronkowski likely could make his decision for next season before Brady makes his.
“I’m really going to basically do what’s best for myself in terms of the football world,” Gronkowski said. “It’s going to basically be a decision upon where I’m at in a couple of weeks.”
Brady will take “a month or longer,” according to sources via ESPN’s Jeff Darlington and Adam Schefter. Brady also discussed the topic on his “Let’s Go!” podcast on January 24. He told host Jim Gray that family will play a major role in his decision.
“You know, I said this a few years ago: It’s what relationships are all about. It’s not always what I want. It’s what we want as a family. I’m going to spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what’s next,” Brady told Gray.
TB12 Tweet a Hint?
TB12 Sports’ tweet on January 23, which included the hashtag #KeepGoing, seemed to hint that Brady might not be done.
“You win or you learn,” TB12 Sports posted. “There are no failures, only lessons. When you fall, you need to pick yourself up with greater enthusiasm than you went down. Now we look back on an incredible season, learn our lessons, and get up … because even greater things are coming.”
Gronkowski, 32, signed a one-year contract worth $8 million to play the 2021 season with the Buccaneers. He will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Brady, 44, signed a one-year extension in March 2021 to play at least one more year.