Legendary tight end and Tampa Bay player Rob Gronkowski told reporters this week that he would consider retiring before next season if forced to make a decision right now. “If they’re like, ‘Rob, you’ve got to decide right now, right this second if you’re playing next year,’ I would say no right now. It’s two days after the season,” Gronkowski explained.
“I would be like, ‘No, I’m not playing.’ … You’ve got to give it some time. You’ve got to rest. I would say to see how everything goes, how everything plays out.” The Tampa Bay tight end will become a free agent in the 2022 season.
Tampa Bay narrowly lost their NFL divisional round against the Los Angeles Rams, with the final score landing at a nail-biting 30-27. Gronkowski posted some of his best numbers since 2017 during the 2021 season, recording 55 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns. He appeared in 12 regular-season games, impressing Tampa Bay fans once again after the team’s stellar Super Bowl run last season.
Tampa Bay struggled to keep their receivers healthy this season. This weakness in their lineup could have halted a lesser team, but the Bucs relied on Gronk throughout 2021 to maintain their passing game. Veteran quarterback Tom Brady knows how to find Gronk with a long bomb and has done so since the two played together on the New England Patriots.
Gronkowski explained that it’s tricky to commit to playing another season in the NFL immediately after regular play ends. Professional football is rough on players’ bodies, no matter how much protective equipment they wear. “I just want to heal completely, see where my thoughts are from there,” Gronkowski told reporters. “Just let things settle down — got to just heal a little bit. Fix all the bumps and bruises.”
Gronk’s decision might hinge on Tom Brady’s future in the NFL. The two are more than just allies on the gridiron–they’re best friends outside of the game. “He’s gotta do what he’s gotta do for himself and his family, no doubt about that,” the tight end said about Brady. “But then for myself, I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do what’s best for myself. See where I’m feeling and all that type of stuff. So then, once I make that personal decision, we’ll see what his decision is, and we’ll take it from there.”
Either way, Tampa Bay fans hope that Brady and Gronk return to Florida next season. One Super Bowl win is impressive, but two would be a dream come true.