Rob Gronkowski Rumors: Bucs 'Not Counting on' TE Returning to Play After Retirement

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 11, 2022

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 21:  Rob Gronkowski attends the Monster Energy BIG3 Celebrity Basketball Game at State Farm Arena on August 21, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Idol Roc)
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Idol Roc

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not believe they'll be able to coax Rob Gronkowski out of retirement for a second time.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the Bucs are "not counting" on Gronkowski's return, believing he has "moved on with his life."

The team initially hoped Tom Brady would be able to convince Gronkowski to make a comeback during the 2022 season if the Bucs were a playoff team.

The future Hall of Famer announced his second retirement in June. He initially sat out the 2019 season during his first retirement before making a comeback and playing the last two years in Tampa.

After appearing in all 16 games during a relatively healthy 2020, Gronkowski again saw his body break down last season. He was limited to 12 regular-season games, compiling 55 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns.

The 33-year-old has a history of significant injuries across his football career, undergoing at least nine surgeries. During a 2019 interview with CBS News' Reena Ninan, he estimated he suffered 20 concussions.

While there was instant speculation that Gronkowski could return midseason—even from his agent, Drew Rosenhaus—he's consistently pushed back on any comeback hopes.

"I'm done with football," Gronkowski told ESPN's Mike Reiss. "Love the game. Love the game. And definitely blessed with all the opportunities the game of football has given me and the relationships I've made—obviously, here in New England for nine seasons and two down in Tampa for two."

"But I'm done with football and stepping my feet into the business world, the business ventures, and just seeing what's out there and where I can find my place."

As it stands, Brady will go into his age-45 season without his biggest security blanket in the Bucs offense. With injuries across the offensive line dominating the offseason program and wideout Chris Godwin returning from an ACL tear, this is arguably the weakest supporting cast Brady has had since arriving in Tampa.