Despite some speculation about Tom Brady returning to the New England Patriots this offseason, longtime teammate Rob Gronkowski said on New Heights that he doesn't expect a reunion.
"I would 100 percent be surprised if he went back to New England," Gronkowski said. "... I just don't really see that happening."
Brady is set to become a free agent this offseason and has had an up-and-down third year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, finishing the regular season with an 8-9 record. It could leave the door open for the 45-year-old to make his way back to New England, where he spent the first 20 years of his career.
"It's open," Gronkowski said, "but a tough shot."
The opinion comes after Gronk said last month the Patriots would welcome Brady back if the quarterback wanted to return.
"I mean, if Tom really wanted to, I'm sure that it would be all open arms to go back to New England," the former tight end told Scott Thompson of Fox News. "I would just have to say all parties would need to want it."
Brady will have no shortage of options if he decides to test the open market this offseason.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Sunday that the Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers and Las Vegas Raiders would show interest if he leaves the Buccaneers:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
From <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLGameDay?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLGameDay</a>: With an eye toward Monday night, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cowboys?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cowboys</a> owner Jerry Jones was clear about Mike McCarthy's job status, while <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bucs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bucs</a> QB Tom Brady will be one of the most interesting free agents in 2023. <a href="https://t.co/MuPsUiey91">pic.twitter.com/MuPsUiey91</a>
Brady finished this season with 4,694 passing yards, third-most in the NFL, along with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Last season, he was an MVP candidate when he led the league with 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns.
It's clear he could still be a difference-maker for a lot of teams, including the Patriots, who finished the season just 17th in points scored and 26th in total yards.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion will look to start another deep playoff run with Monday's wild-card game against the Dallas Cowboys.