When Rob Gronkowski retired two and a half years ago, fans weren’t sure they’d ever see him again in the NFL. But when his old quarterback Tom Brady came calling last offseason, the all-time great tight end jumped at the chance to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gronkowski and Brady went on to win their fourth Super Bowl together last February and even connected for a touchdown during the Bucs 31-9 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs. Soon after the victory, both players confirmed they’d be back in Tampa Bay for another season.
The 32-year-old tight end said that he has no regrets coming back to football and is very much looking forward to the upcoming year with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has a title to defend and Gronkowski is excited for the challenge.
“It was a great decision and I’m definitely glad I’m still playing. It’s a grind at times, but overall it always pays off,” Gronkowski said, per Pro Football Talk.
The four-time All-Pro, who’s dealt with a handful of significant injuries over the years, also shared that he’s feeling as strong as ever headed into the 2021 season. Last summer, after he’d taken a year off from football, he admitted that he wasn’t in the best shape. Now that he’s completed a full year of NFL level conditioning, Gronk feels significantly better with where he’s at physically.
“I’ve been here all offseason and now for camp, and I feel like I’m doing a lot better this year for sure,” Gronkowski said. “Conditioning wise, coming off a year and not playing, and then heading into a camp like this, it’s hard work. . . . It’s night and day from where I was last year in training camp to where I am now.”
Rob Gronkowski: Coming out of retirement was a great decision, glad I’m still playing. https://t.co/9UBLKaF5xC
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 19, 2021
If Gronkowski is feeling better than he did last summer, the rest of the league should be worried. Even after a year off, he made 45 catches for 623 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season. In the playoffs, he added eight receptions for 110 yards and two scores.
Now that he’s primed and ready to go, Gronkowski has his sights on helping the Buccaneers back to the Super Bowl next February. He knows that the road ahead as the defending champs won’t be easy, so he’s already focused on improving.
“I mean coming off a championship season, that’s huge,” Gronkowski said, per the Buccaneers last month. “It’s definitely a different vibe because you have to leave that in the past. You’ve got to learn how to leave that in the past. Yes, it was great to celebrate and all — we had our time to celebrate, but that’s in the past — it’s a whole new season now. So, you’ve got to find ways to just put it in the back our your mind to just throw it back there.
“This is a whole new season — we have a target on our back. We’ve got to find ways to get better, find ways to improve, I’ve got to find ways to go out there and be consistent on a daily basis. You’ve just got to keep finding ways to step up your game because you have a target on your back as a whole and you’ve just got to keep improving. You can’t have any setbacks thinking, ‘Great, that’s all in the past.”
Gronkowski and the Buccaneers will begin their title defense on opening night of the 2021 season against the Dallas Cowboys.
The post Rob Gronkowski Sends Clear Message About Returning For Another Year appeared first on The Spun.
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