Tom Brady Sends Message on Panthers, Potential Rob Gronkowski Reunion

Tom Brady

Getty Tom Brady wants to push outside noise aside before an NFC South showdown.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady isn’t fixated on his 2023 plans or on a Rob Gronkowski reunion.

Brady said as much on his weekly “Let’s Go!” podcast and backed that up with a couple of social media posts addressing his team. The Bucs (7-8) face the Carolina Panthers (6-9) on January 1 for the NFC South Division title.

“It’s a big game, and they’re a good football team, and they’re an ascending football team,” Brady told podcast host Jim Gray. “This is a championship game and I don’t give a [expletive] what the records are.”

In Brady’s social media posts, he wrote “two more” and “let’s bring it home” on Instagram plus “keep going” on Twitter with photos of his teammates. The Bucs win the division with a win over Carolina and can secure a winning record the following week with a win against the Atlanta Falcons. Gronkowski apparently won’t be part of that picture after doubling down about not coming back this season.

“In the meantime, I have a hugely important job the team’s asking me to do and I wanna go out there and I wanna play my best these last two weeks of the regular season,” Brady told Gray.

As for thinking about retirement, Brady said “I really don’t” during the podcast.

Tom Brady: ‘That’s It for Me’

Brady, who retired and unretired last offseason, admitted to Gray that it will be permanent the next time around. Brady, 45, will become a free agent in the offseason, and “all options” are on the table according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

“I think next time I decide to retire, that’s it for me,” Brady told Gray. “So whenever that day comes, we’ll figure it out.”

“I think what I really realized last year was you gotta be really sure to do that and for me — a lot of people have gone through the situation of how you feel when the season ends versus two or three [months] later,” Brady added. “So I’m gonna take my time whenever that time does come.”

Brady’s 2022 retirement lasted 40 days. He could retire again this offseason, which The Athletic’s Mike Jones reported as the most likely option. However, there’s wide speculation that Brady could play somewhere else in 2023.

Tom Brady on Potential Rob Gronkowski Reunion

Gronkowski left the door open just a crack for a return in 2023, which could mean a reunion with Brady. The Bucs quarterback wouldn’t tip his cap on if it will happen though.

“Nobody loves Gronk more than me other than maybe his mom and dad and brothers,” Brady told Gray. “He’s like family to me. He’s kind of like one of my kids actually, every now and then I’ve got to put him in timeout for misbehaving, for eating paste and stuff like that. You know, whatever he decides in the future, I’ll be fully supportive.”

Gronkowski talked with the Bucs in November about a return but decided to stay retired according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Gronkowski played at a high level in 2021 but retired for a second time after a string of injuries.

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