Tom Brady Makes Telling Comment About Rob Gronkowski

Brady Gronk

Getty Tom Brady shared his thoughts recently on Rob Gronkowski's potential return.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady acknowledged Rob Gronkowski‘s offseason of apparent indecision during a recent interview with Complex.

Brady, who played 11 seasons with Gronkowski thus far, didn’t offer a definitive read on which way the star tight end is leaning for the upcoming season.

“I’m hoping Gronk comes back to play,” Brady told Complex’s Mike DeStefano.

Albeit, Gronkowski has only offered certainty of where he will play if he plays. Gronkowski told SB Nation’s Debbie Emery that he would return to the Bucs if he plays but contract negotiations haven’t started.

“That will start if I decide that I want to play,” Gronkowski told Emery in an interview before his appearance at the Nickelodeon “Kids’ Choice Awards” on April 9. “There’s no reason to do that while there’s a decision to be made first. It’s all about if I decide to.”

Brady previously said “I don’t know” about Gronkowski’s future back in February on the “Let’s Go!” podcast, which occurred during Brady’s 41-day retirement. Since Brady came back March 13, Gronkowski hasn’t come closer to committing than his comment “there’s a very good chance” at a Tampa area barbershop on March 16.

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Bucs Already Looking to Future at Tight End

Bucs general manager Jason Licht didn’t mention any plans for Gronkowski to re-sign during a pre-NFL Draft press conference on Tuesday, April 19. Licht said the team could draft a tight end, a position the Bucs need more depth at whether or not Gronkowski returns. The Bucs lost O.J. Howard in free agency, which whittled the tight end room to Cameron Brate and Codey McElroy.

“You have to pay attention to that position,” Licht told reporters. “You don’t want to push a player up just because, like right now at this very moment, it looks like a perceived need, so you want to take him at the right spot.”

Brady, who lured Gronkowski to Tampa Bay in 2020, has little input in what direction the Bucs go — tight end or any position — in the draft, Licht maintains.

“No, he stays away. He trusts us. That’s just not in his nature, anyway,” Licht told reporters.

No Rush for Gronkowski

Gronkowski, in the meantime, won’t rush an official decision. He’s been occupied with his many off-field endeavors and endorsements.

“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.

How Gronkowski feels physically has been a talking point for him throughout the offseason. He first brought that up when he talked with the media on Jan. 24 after the Bucs season ended in the playoffs, and he addressed it during his April 7 appearance on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show.

“It’s not really like, you know, do I really want to be there? I love playing with the guys. That’s the best part. Being a part of a team,” Gronkowski told Kimmel. “Do I want to do it every week in, week out? It’s a brutal game. For sure, I’m blocking guys that are sometimes 300 pounds in front of me, they’re coming full speed and smashing me. I’m catching a pass up the middle, and right when they catch me they’re smashing me from my legs all the way to my shoulders.”

Gronkowski had an injury-riddled career in New England before retiring in 2019. He stayed healthy in his comeback with the Bucs in 2020, but he endured injuries again in 2021 as he missed five games.

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