For a lot of the offseason, there was a lingering query about Rob Gronkowski’s future with the Bucs. Everybody understood that the long run Corridor of Fame tight finish was going to take his time deciding whether or not or to not return for an additional yr of soccer. However on the similar time, the overall consensus gave the impression to be that he would in the end resolve to come back again to Tampa Bay for yet one more season.
Then, final week, Gronkowski introduced his retirement. It was considerably of a shock, however everybody accepted his resolution. The “will he/gained’t he” saga was over… for about 5 minutes. Not lengthy after the preliminary report about his resolution after which his personal confirmation of his retirement, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted this:
In response to Rob Gronkowski’s information, his agent Drew Rosenhaus texts: “It might not shock me if Tom Brady calls him through the season to come back again and Rob solutions the decision. That is simply my opinion however I wouldn’t be stunned if Rob comes again through the season or subsequent season.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 21, 2022
Gronkowski’s retirement tweet got here at 2:29 p.m. on June 21. Schefter’s tweet, with hypothesis a few return from Gronkowski’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, dropped two minutes later. So, with that, the hypothesis will solely proceed. The long-running principle was that Gronkowski would signal with the Bucs simply earlier than coaching camp begins in July. Now, there are theories about him skipping coaching camp and signing after. Others suppose he may re-join the Bucs through the season. And a few even appear to suppose it could be attainable that he comes again for a playoff run.
In fact, nobody may very well be blamed for considering that Gronkowski doesn’t come again in any respect. He did, in spite of everything, announce his retirement. Tom Brady’s retirement and eventual return 40 days later has conditioned everybody to count on the identical together with his longtime teammate. However it’s truthful to suppose that this time, Gronkowski is actually finished with soccer. It’s his second retirement, as he took a yr off in 2019 earlier than making a comeback in 2020 with Brady and the Bucs. This time, although, it could be totally different. Not less than, that’s what former teammate Rob Ninkovich thinks.
Ninkovich: ‘I Suppose This Is Extra Everlasting.’
Talking about Gronkowski’s retirement on ESPN’s Get Up final week, Ninkovich identified a wide range of causes as to why this might actually be the top of the road for the legendary tight finish.
“I believe that is extra everlasting – I don’t see Rob coming again, I actually don’t. I believe at this level, this can be a totally different really feel versus the final time he retired,” Ninkovich mentioned. “There was a whole lot of issues occurring. He wasn’t feeling nice. He took a yr off, he got here again [and] he gained one other Tremendous Bowl taking part in with Tom Brady. And consider it this fashion. Rob has achieved greater than every other tight finish in historical past. And Rob has finished extra in his profession than anybody else in historical past. Actually, he’s the best tight finish of all time. So, with these 4 Tremendous Bowl rings, with every part that he’s achieved, he doesn’t must proceed to play.
“His physique, he’s already been by means of it. He’s had the surgical procedures. He’s finished every part that you would presumably consider. The spiking and all the nice landing catches and all of the celebration. On the flip aspect of that, he’s additionally coping with issues, he’s needed to have a bunch of surgical procedures. He’s had his again labored on. He’s had his knee finished, he’s had his ankle finished [and] he’s had a whole lot of issues off the sphere that you just don’t see as a fan. So, I actually do suppose that Rob goes to stroll away. And I don’t see him coming again.”
Whereas all of these ideas are 100% legitimate, that’s not going to cease the hypothesis. Only a few days after Ninkovich mentioned he can’t see it occurring, former NFL government Mike Tannenbaum had the precise reverse opinion on the exact same present.
Tannenbaum: ‘100%’ Gronkowski Returns To Bucs
It doesn’t really feel like a stretch to say that almost all of soccer followers and media members are on the aspect of anticipating one other return from retirement for Gronkowski. On Monday’s version of ESPN’s Get Up, Tannenbaum defined why he has little doubt that the 11-year veteran will as soon as once more be a Buc.
“100% he comes again. Tom Brady, when he says ‘G0,’ [Gronk] says ‘Sure, how briskly and the way excessive?’ Look, they don’t want Gronk for 17 video games, guys,” Tannenbaum mentioned. “They want Gronk in consequential moments. Third down, purple zone, coming down the stretch. Perhaps it’s 15, 20 performs a sport. Jeff [Darlington] brings up an incredible level. A number of veterans don’t like coaching camp. Gronk doesn’t want it. However we’d like high quality performs, not amount performs, and he may very well be the distinction of them beating the Rams down the stretch. So, when Tom Brady says ‘Hey, Gronk. It’s time to go,’ I’ve little doubt in my thoughts he’ll be a Buccaneer.”
Tannenbaum was then requested about Brady and the Bucs doubtlessly having to maneuver on with out Gronkowski and the way that may have an effect on their Tremendous Bowl hopes. He took that chance to double down on his latest reward of Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles.
“I believe it’s going to be actually exhausting – I believe they nonetheless have a extremely good group. I believe an underrated storyline is Todd Bowles. I’ve labored with Todd earlier than. He’s an incredible coach, not a very good coach,” Tannenbaum mentioned. “You consider a man like Invoice Belichick. Struggled in Cleveland, takes a while off, turns into a head coach once more [and] the remainder is historical past. I’m not saying Todd Bowles goes to be Invoice Belichick, however why not? Why can’t he have an incredible second chapter as a head coach? This can be a group that missed over 47 video games on protection [last year]. I believe this group is loaded and Gronk, down the stretch, solely makes them that significantly better.”