Gronkowski caught two of three targets for 11 yards in Sunday's 34-23 loss to the Saints.
The 31-year-old supposedly looked rejuvenated in camp after taking the 2019 season off, but Gronkowski didn't make much impact in his Tampa debut. In fact, it was O.J. Howard, and not Gronk, who hauled in Tom Brady's first TD pass as a Buccaneer. With a deep TE group that also includes Cameron Brate all jockeying for snaps, there may not be many opportunities for Gronkowski in the early going until he's fully up to speed on his new playbook.
Gronkowski seems to have greatly benefited from taking last season off and has been consistently making plays throughout early padded practices, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. "No similarities at all [to 2018 Gronkowski]," said coach Bruce Arians on Thursday. "He looks like he was five or six years ago, before all the injuries. The back surgeries have healed, so he's had a year of healing. He looks to me like he was five or six years ago."
Gronkowski frequently seemed a sluggish shadow of his former self during his last Patriots campaign in 2018, a year when he missed three games and finished with a 47-682-3 line. His elite athleticism helped him get by that season to an extent, but the Buccaneers appear to have acquired an early-career version of Gronk if early camp practices are any indication, with the 10-year pro frequently getting downfield and making catches in traffic with ease. Gronkowski concedes the defense was moving much faster than he remembered during his first couple of practices, but that he now feels "everything coming back to him day by day." The veteran also noted Thursday he's not thinking along the lines of having his snap count limited despite having excellent depth behind him in the form of O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, noting he'd be willing to be in on every play if necessary but acknowledging his playing time will ultimately be in the hands of the coaching staff.
Gronkowski has impressed in early camp practices with his athleticism and seemingly unchanged rapport with quarterback Tom Brady, Carmen Vitali of the Buccaneers' official site reports.
The perennial Pro-Bowl tight end seems to have gotten through his year off from the NFL with his extensive skill set unscathed, and he's been standing out since the Buccaneers hit the field last week. The legendary chemistry between Brady and Gronkowski also is evident, as the two have connected for several completions inside very small passing windows on multiple occasions, including on a nifty back-corner touchdown toss in Monday's first padded practice. Vitali separately reports Gronkowski is still in the process of adjusting to how coach Bruce Arians utilizes tight ends in his offense, with incumbent O.J. Howard lending an assist in the classroom to get the prized offseason acquisition up to speed.
Gronkowski was one of approximately a dozen Buccaneers players to participate in a workout at Berkeley Preparatory School on Tuesday, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Gronkowski's long-time teammate in New England, Tom Brady, has regularly convened a group of Bucs players at the school for the last several weeks, a practice that continues despite concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The prolific tight end began participating in the sessions over a week ago and has been among a collection of skill position players that also includes Mike Evans and Chris Godwin running a full array of pass routes. Despite the presence of accomplished incumbents O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, Gronkowski is expected to be the top option at the position due to both his talent and extensive history with Brady.
Gronkowski passed a physical, making his trade from New England to Tampa Bay official, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
As expected, the last hurdle has been completed in the transaction. Gronkowski comes out of retirement to join forces with Tom Brady once again, from whom he caught 78 touchdowns in nine seasons while with the Patriots. The Buccaneers' tight end room now is jam-packed, as Gronkowski get added to a group that already includes O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, among others. Considering his rapport with Brady, Gronkowski immediately vaults up the ranks of fantasy TEs, but the soon-to-be 31-year-old will have to compete with the aforementioned duo plus the stellar WR combo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for targets in 2020.
Gronkowski has already taken a physical in Boston, and while he's awaiting the official results, the tight end reportedly feels that he'll pass it "with flying colors," Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Assuming no unexpected snags with his physical, the deal sending Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick to the Buccaneers in exchange for a fourth-rounder will soon become official. Once it is, he'll join a tight end corps that already includes O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, though even prior to Tuesday's news, there were rumors about Howard potentially being on the move. Gronkowski, who turns 31 next month, last played in the NFL in 2018, but the year away from the game could well benefit him, considering the pounding his body took during his nine seasons with the Patriots. Now that he's about to be reunited with QB Tom Brady, Gronkowski re-enters the fantasy realm as a player who could return to elite status at his position, assuming he can avoid injuries in 2020.
The Patriots have agreed to trade Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick to the Buccaneers for a fourth-round selection, pending a physical, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Gronkowski to Tampa Bay went from rumor to reality quickly. According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, Gronkowski informed him that he's already taken a physical with the Buccaneers, meaning this deal may be official in short order. Gronkowski will rejoin former teammate Tom Brady to provide another threat to an offense that was explosive before his arrival.
The Patriots and Buccaneers have reportedly been discussing a possible trade involving Gronkowski, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Though Gronkowski is currently retired, the Patriots hold his playing rights. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the tight end has been putting on weight with an eye toward returning to the NFL, specifically in order to play with QB Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. Rapoport adds that a deal could potentially happen before Thursday's draft.
Gronkowski said "you never know" when he was asked about coming out of retirement on TSN.ca relays via Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. "I'm feeling good right now," Gronkowski said. "I'm happy where I'm at, and you just never know, man... I'm not totally done. I like to stay in shape, but I've got to get that feeling back."
Gronkowski hasn't directly addressed rumors that he might emerge from retirement to join Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, but the 30-year-old did acknowledge that he could resume playing football at some point. On the other hand, Gronkowski has stayed busy since he left the Patriots after the 2018 campaign, with his recent work including a WWE 24/7 championship belt. Meanwhile, Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard has also been the subject of rumors, with Michael Lombardi of The Athletic (via Greg Auman) reporting that Howard is on the trade block, potentially creating an opening for Gronkowski to reunite with Brady.
Gronkowski is not eligible to return to action this season, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
This expected outcome became official Saturday afternoon, at which time the deadline for Gronkowski's potential reinstatement in 2019 passed. Per the report, the tight end will next be eligible to consider resuming his playing career following the Super Bowl. With that, Ben Watson and Matt LaCosse will continue to head the Patriots' tight end corps.
Gronkowski said Tuesday that he has no plans to play football in 2019, but he hasn't ruled out a return to the NFL at some point in the future, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports. "I wouldn't say never coming back,'" Gronkowski said. "I'm 30 years old. I'm young. I still stay fit, still watch the game whenever I can, still enjoy it. I'm feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off."
Gronkowski announced his retirement in March, but given his relative youth and the fact that he was still playing at a high level in 2018, rumors have popped up intermittently in the ensuing months that he could resume his career. If the tight end intended to play in 2019, Reiss notes that Gronkowski would have to inform the NFL by Nov. 30, making it fairly safe to conclude that he'll be taking the entire season off. Expect more rumors regarding Gronkowski's plans for 2020 to surface throughout the upcoming offseason.
Though Gronkowski has previously indicated he doesn't have plans to resume his playing career, during a pre-game interview on NFL Network Thursday night, Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed his hope that the tight end might reconsider that stance, ESPN's Mike Reiss reports.
Meanwhile, Gronkowski -- who has yet to file his retirement papers, per Kraft -- made his debut Thursday night as a FOX Sports analyst. When asked about Kraft's comments and the possibility of embarking on a comeback at some point, Gronkowski replied, "I would have to be feeling it, feeling it big-time to come back. It's always going to be open in my mind...I love the game of football. I love playing the game. I love being around the game. I even love watching the game of football now." While Gronkowski doesn't seem close to changing his mind at this stage, the fact that he's not entirely closing the door to that idea could make it tempting for those in leagues with ample roster space/flexibility to consider stashing the tight end. That said, such a move would be speculative and require an acknowledgement that it's still something of a longshot Gronkowski returns to the 6-0 Patriots in time to make a fantasy impact in 2019.
Gronkowski has accepted a broadcasting position with Fox Sports as an NFL analyst, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
The new role adds further fuel to the notion that Gronkowski isn't planning to resume his playing career, though at 30 years old, he still has plenty of time to revisit a comeback at some point down the road. Gronkowski will make his debut for Fox this week as part of Thursday Night Football, when his former Patriots squad will be matching up with the Giants.
Gronkowski noted Tuesday that "for the first time in more than a decade, (he is) pain-free," Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald reports.
The tight end, who announced his retirement in March, also detailed a painful quad injury that he suffered in Super Bowl LIII, which troubled him in the month following the Patriots' victory in that contest. The 30-year-old added that his decision to call it quits was based on both a desire to give his body a break, as well as an acknowledgement that he had started to lose his zest for the game. At this point, Gronkowski has no plans to resume his playing career, but he seems to have left the door open to that possibility down the road. "If I have the desire to play football again, if I feel passionate about football again, if I'm feeling like I need to be out there on the field, I will go back to football," Gronkowski said Tuesday. "But as of right now, that is not the case. It could be the case in six months. It could be the case in two years. It could be the case in three years. It could be the case in three months. But I truly don't see it in the foreseeable future - in, like, a week or a month. No. I want to do a different chapter of my life right now." The open-ended nature of his comments Tuesday could make it tempting for those in leagues with plenty of roster space/flexibility to consider stashing Gronkowski, but such a move would require patience along with an acknowledgement that it's still something of a longshot the tight end returns in time to make a fantasy splash in 2019.
Gronkowski, who spent much of his NFL career in the 265-270 pound range, noted earlier this month that he's down to 250 pounds, Andrew Callahan of masslive.com reports.
The report indicates that the tight end, who is currently retired, hasn't been lifting weights of late, and that's resulted in Gronkowski quickly trimming down since last season. Despite the noticeable change in his physique, speculation continues to swirl that Gronkowski could still elect to come out of retirement at some point down the road. With that in mind, Scott Zolak, co-host of 98.5 The Sports Hub, suggests that a midseason return (at which point Gronkowski would need some time to get himself into football shape) might be the most plausible scenario in such a case. While Gronkowski currently seems committed to staying away from the game, he could miss playing enough to at least contemplate a comeback. For now, however, anything along those lines is pure speculation, with CSN New England relaying that Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio pegs the chances of a Gronkowski return at 40 percent.
Gronkowski told reporters Sunday that he has no plans for a comeback, Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald reports. When asked about comeback rumors Gronkowski responded, saying "Oh man . . . whatever I say, it doesn't matter," he answered. "It will always be crazy out there. You (the Herald) can put them to rest."
Gronkowski was back at Gillette Stadium on Sunday to help raise money following his retirement March 24. His agent Drew Rosenhaus was on record just a day after the announcement saying he "wouldn't be shocked" if his client came out of retirement, but Gronkowski seems to have put those rumors to rest. As of now, the former Patriot appears set on staying retired.
The Patriots have officially placed Gronkowski on the team's reserve/retired list, NESN.com's Zack Cox reports.
Gronkowski announced Sunday via Instagram that he intended to retire from the NFL as a player, and that was made official Tuesday. While replacing the star pass catcher will be no easy task for the club, Gronkowski's departure frees up roughly $9 million in salary cap space for the Patriots, who will no doubt be looking at the draft as a path toward rebuilding their tight end corps. So soon after Gronkowski's announcement, it seems a tad silly to immediately speculate about a potential comeback, but it's worth noting that his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, suggested that it wouldn't shock him if Gronkowski contemplates a return to the field at some point down the road.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus said he "wouldn't be shocked" if Gronkowski came out of retirement "to play a few games" at some point, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
The 29-year-old tight end announced his retirement Sunday on Instagram without any hint or mention of a possible return to football in the future. Given his lengthy medical record along with the plethora of business/media opportunities available, it's easy enough to understand the appeal of retirement for a future Hall of Famer with three Super Bowl rings. That being said, Gronkowski might eventually consider a return to the Patriots if he finds that retirement isn't as enjoyable as playing football. Meanwhile, the team needs to add some help at tight end, where the depth chart currently holds Matt LaCosse, Jacob Hollister (hamstring), Stephen Anderson and Ryan Izzo -- a group with 71 combined NFL receptions.
Gronkowski announced Sunday that he will retire from the NFL.
Gronkowski has not been shy about discussing retirement, and following yet another Super Bowl win, the all-time great tight end will officially call it a career. He finishes with 521 receptions for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns, and he leaves the Patriots with a massive hole in their offense. The team figures to be strong in its pursuit of a tight end this offseason, starting with the 2019 NFL Draft.
Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, relays that the tight end has yet to decide on his playing future, Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald reports.
On the plus side, Rosenhaus indicated that his client, who played through the Super Bowl with a thigh issue, is feeling healthy at this stage. Though Gronkowski's future with the team remains uncertain, we doubt that the Patriots are inclined to sign a big-name tight end in free agency. It's possible that Martellus Bennett could be lured out of retirement to provide depth at the position, but with a slew of picks available, the upcoming NFL draft is where New England figures to identify Gronkowski's eventual replacement.
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