Will Rob Gronkowski retire? Buccaneers TE’s decision on 2022 is TBD, not tied to Tom Brady

Rob Gronkowski’s future with the Buccaneers appears to be up in the air.

The Tampa Bay tight end, widely viewed as the best to ever play in the NFL, discussed his future at the Bucs’ media availability at the end of the season. He has not committed to playing in 2022 and said he needs three to five weeks to process the end of the season and see what his next step may be.

“You can’t make a decision with that mindset,” Gronkowski said. by the athletic.

Gronkowski, 32, has already retired once. He resigned after the 2018 NFL season, his ninth with the Patriots, and spent 2019 out of football. However, Tom Brady lured him back into the NFL and convinced him to play for the Bucs, where he spent each of the last two seasons.

Now both Gronk and Brady are considering their future. Brady, 44, would not announce whether he would return for the 2022 season, and appears legitimately considering retiring despite posting the second-most passing yards in NFL history (5,316) and being considered one of two candidates. main to the MVP.

Gronk and Brady are close. Are your decisions connected? Not necessarily, according to Gronkowski, who said he would consider playing even if Brady wasn’t the Buccaneers’ quarterback.

“There could be a scenario like that,” Gronkowski said. “I would never throw anything off the board because you never know how something is going to play out.”

Of course, it’s worth noting that Gronkowski has only expressed interest in playing Brady at quarterback during his career. He once threatened to retire if Brady and the Patriots traded him, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, while his agent Drew Rosenhaus has said before that Gronkowski only came back from retirement to play with Brady.

That makes it sound like Gronkowski would retire if Brady resigns, but perhaps his tone has changed after playing with his Buccaneers teammates. He spoke enthusiastically of his teammates and the Tampa Bay locker room during his postseason availability.

“That’s what makes soccer so great, is having that special bond with your teammates,” Gronkowski said. “It’s very hard to get that anywhere else in life. To have a team where everyone works together, to have so many people on a team, to build those relationships and bonds that we all have in this locker room, I mean, it’s something special for me. to have that. This locker room was definitely up there. Everyone was very close.”

So maybe Gronkowski will even be without Brady if he craves that camaraderie.

All that said, Gronk’s future is murky right now. The Bucs should have a better idea of ​​whether he’ll be available before he hits free agency. If he retires, Cameron Brate will likely assume the No. 1 tight end spot on Tampa Bay’s depth chart.