NFL

Buccaneers believe that Rob Gronkowski has ‘moved on with his life’

The team is reportedly not counting on the five-time Pro Bowler to return to football this season.

FILE - Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) waves to fans after a game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Atlanta. AP Photo/Danny Karnik, File

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers already got one Patriots legend back from retirement, it looks like that will be all, at least for the time being.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Buccaneers “are not counting on” tight end Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement this season.

“The Buccaneers initially had hoped that later this season, if they were in the thick of the race for a playoff spot, [Tom] Brady could help convince Gronkowski to return. But sources told ESPN that at least for the time being, until they hear differently, the Buccaneers believe that Gronkowski has moved on with his life,” Schefter wrote.

Gronkowski, 33, announced his retirement in June following a 2021 season that saw him haul in 55 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games. He dealt with a punctured lung and fractured ribs during the season, missing five games entirely and only playing a few snaps in another.

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The tight end would need the circumstances for a return to be “completely right,” according to Schefter. “[Gronkowski] would want an opportunity with a Super Bowl contender that needed him and made a return to the NFL worth his while.”

Gronkowski has stayed busy in the early stages of his (second) retirement, recently captaining a team in the Big3 Celebrity Basketball Game, as well as hosting a memorable alternate broadcast of UFC 278 on ESPN+.

The four-time Super Bowl Champion and five-time Pro Bowler played nine of his 11 seasons with the New England Patriots, winning three of his Super Bowls with the team. If this truly is the end, he finishes his career with 621 passes caught for 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns, good for the 12th-most receiving touchdowns of all time.

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