Gronkowski tweeted “I’m kinda bored” on Wednesday, December 21, which led to droves of interpretations about his future plans. Rosenhaus “isn’t aware of any changes to his playing status” according to Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press.
— Rob Maaddi (@RobMaaddi) December 22, 2022
Greg Auman, who covers the Bucs and NFC South for FOX Sports, expressed skepticism over Gronkowski’s tweet. Auman wrote “he’s just playing everyone” on social media.
With that said, Rosenhaus became the first to stoke the fires of a possible Gronkowski comeback right after his June 21 retirement announcement. Rosenhaus also told Maaddi in September that he has a “gut feeling” Gronkowski will return late in the season.
Gronkowski teased a comeback last week in an interview with USA Today, but he also said that he’s “just not playing” and “that’s not a possibility”. He also switched to conversation about his analyst role with FOX and anticipation of former teammate Tom Brady’s future debut as a FOX broadcaster.
Brady, the Bucs quarterback, notably lured Gronkowski out of his first retirement in 2020 to join the team. Gronkowski played at a high level with 100 receptions, 1,425 yards, and 13 touchdowns in two seasons.
Brady and Gronkowski previously played together for nine seasons with the New England Patriots before Gronkowski’s first retirement in 2019. His frequent injuries ultimately led to that first retirement, and his injuries in 2021 contributed to his decision to hang it up a second time around.
When Brady retired and unretired early last offseason, a Brady-Gronkowski reunion with the Bucs looked inevitable. Gronkowski even teased it, but he chose to call it a career instead and focus on off-field endeavors. He also talked about his excitement about his next chapter.
Gronkowski also teased that he would take a call from Brady but won’t commit to playing again.
Could Gronkowski Save the Bucs?
If Gronkowski suddenly did unretire and finish the season with the Bucs, he could spark a dormant offense of 17.6 points and 352.6 yards per game. The Bucs desperately need a significant red zone target at 18th in the league with a 53.66% rate for touchdowns.
Brady hasn’t looked like himself with just 20 touchdown passes and 6.3 yards per attempt. The Bucs don’t have a tight end in the top three for any major receiving category.
Gronkowski’s blocking could also greatly aid the Bucs. The running game has been anemic all season with 3.3 yards per carry and 74.3 yards per game plus four rushing touchdowns overall.
If Gronkowski returned, he wouldn’t gamble on making the postseason. The Bucs (6-8) have a 74% chance to make the playoffs according to FiveThirtyEight. Everyone else in the NFC South sits at 5-9, and the Bucs control their own destiny with division games against the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons in the next three weeks.
Gronkowski Might Play Elsewhere
SInce Gronkowski’s cryptic tweet, some have speculated that he could play somewhere else besides Tampa Bay.
Gronkowski is a free agent, and he has been linked to AFC contenders such as the Cincinnati Bengals and his hometown Buffalo Bills. However, Gronkowski told SB Nation’s Debbie Emery April that he will only play for the Bucs if he returns.
This content was originally published here.