Rob Gronkowski Talks NFL Future: 'I'm Not Ready to Commit ... Right Now'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 5, 2022

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) lines up during a NFL divisional playoff football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)
AP Photo/Alex Menendez

Five-time Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski said he hasn't made a decision about his NFL future despite quarterback Tom Brady's confirmed return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gronk told TMZ Sports in an interview released Tuesday he opted against catching passes during a recent charity event to avoid getting the football itch.

"I knew if I started catching some passes that my head would have started turning, like, 'Oh, crap, I got to get back out on the field,'" he said. "And, right now, I'm not ready to get back out on that field. I'm not ready to commit to the game of football right now."

Gronkowski remained a productive target for Brady and the Bucs last season. He recorded 55 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns to earn a solid 79.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

So the 32-year-old University of Arizona product can still play at a high level, but the question is whether he wants to make the six-month commitment to play another season.

It's actually something Brady mentioned in his initial retirement announcement in February, saying a "100 percent competitive commitment" is necessary in the NFL.

"I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore," Brady wrote before changing his mind and returning to Tampa Bay's active roster six weeks later.

Once the legendary quarterback returned, it seemed like the next logical step was for the Bucs to bring back his longtime red-zone target. Instead, it appears Gronkowski will enjoy more of the offseason before making any final decisions.

The standout tight end previously retired in 2019 only to return the following year after Brady's move to the Buccaneers.

It's hard to imagine his signing anywhere other than Tampa Bay if he does come back for 2022.

If Gronkowski walks away for good, he'll go down as one of the best tight ends in NFL history. Along with his five Pro Bowl appearances, he earned four First Team All-Pro selections and won four Super Bowl titles.

He was named to both the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, which was selected in 2019, and the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.

It makes him a surefire Hall of Famer and probably a first-ballot choice five years after his final snap.