Bucs' Rob Gronkowski Says He Would Choose to Retire If NFL Made Him Decide Right Now

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 26, 2022

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 23: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on before the game against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski said he'd retire if the NFL forced him to make a final decision about the 2022 season right now.

Gronkowski told TMZ Sports in an interview released Wednesday he'll instead take some time to rest and recover before making any announcements about his future.

"If they're like, 'Rob, you've got to decide right now, right this second if you're playing next year,' I would say no right now," he said. "I would be like, 'No, I'm not playing.'"

Gronk added: "I just want to heal completely, see where my thoughts are from there. Just let things settle down—got to just heal a little bit. Fix all the bumps and bruises."

The 32-year-old University of Arizona product put together another solid year in 2021. He recorded 55 catches for 802 yards, his highest totals since 2017 with the New England Patriots, and also scored six touchdowns across 12 appearances during the regular season.

He previously retired ahead of the 2019 campaign only to return in 2020 to reunite with quarterback Tom Brady following his move from the Pats to the Bucs.

Gronkowski told Fox News' Ryan Gaydos the future of Brady, who's also faced questions about potential retirement, won't have a direct impact on his own decision.

"Tom's gotta do what he's gotta do," the four-time Super Bowl champion said. "You know, I can't speak for him, but whatever is best for him and his family, I totally understand. Everyone really wants to see him play football."

Gronk added he'll likely come to his own conclusion in a "couple weeks."

If the New York native decides to hang up his cleats for good, he'll be a lock for future Hall of Fame induction, almost assuredly on the first ballot.

Along with the Super Bowl titles, his resume also features five Pro Bowl appearances, four First Team All-Pro selections and several NFL records for tight ends, including the single-season mark for touchdown receptions with 17 in 16 games during the 2011 season.

If Gronkowski opts to return, he's slated to become an unrestricted free agent with the conclusion of his one-year, $8 million contract with the Buccaneers.

He'd likely have no shortage of potential suitors if he decides to leave Tampa Bay, an option he may explore if Brady retires.