Gronkowski Out of Retirement to Join Brady in Tampa Bay 

Aidan Morley, Staff Writer

Future Pro Football Hall of Famer and former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has come out of retirement to join longtime former quarterback Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the upcoming season. Gronkowski, more commonly known as “Gronk,” announced his return to football after New England traded his contract rights along with a seventh-round pick in return for Tampas fourth-round selection in the 2020 draft. Gronkowski, who was still under contract with the Patriots, reportedly asked New England before the transaction to trade his rights so that he could join Brady in Tampa Bay and resume his NFL career. 

Gronkowski left pro football at just 29-years-old in March of 2019 following the Patriots 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Since his departure, Gronk has dabbled in a variety of new career paths such as NFL commentating, CBD oil advertising, and even professional wrestling. Throughout various times during the 2019 NFL season, a very emotional Gronkowski opened up about the toll years of injuries had taken on both his body and his mental health. Gronkowski, who is regarded as one of the toughest players in NFL history, often struggled to hold back tears when talking about the injuries, saying, “I was in tears in my bed after a Super Bowl victory…I was losing the joy in life.” Despite often teasing optimistic fans about a possible return to New England, comments about his injuries and mental health made it very clear he had no intention of returning to the Patriots. 

During his nine seasons playing for New England, Gronkowski appeared in five Super Bowls— XLVI, XLIX, LI, LII, LIII, and won three XLIX, LI, LIII. Finishing with 79 touchdowns and nearly 8,000 receiving yards, his final catch was an instrumental 29-yard reception to set up the only touchdown of the game and securing the Super Bowl LIII victory for New England. However, it was his larger-than-life personality that captured the hearts of fans all across the country. Here in New England, Gronk’s parties, antics, and infamous spikes after touchdowns created a football persona that was beloved on and off the field.