Rob Gronkowski Says His Mother Diane Walters Was 'Main Reason' He Joined Bucs

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 25, 2020

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 06: Former New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski looks on during the game between the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets  at TD Garden on December 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Nuggets 108-95. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The presumption has been that Rob Gronkowski decided to come out of his NFL retirement and join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of Tom Brady.

Brady certainly played a role, but so did Gronk's mother, Diane Walters. The 31-year-old tight end explained during the Friday episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show that he is quarantining with Walters in Fort Myers, Florida, where she has lived for 10 years (1:33 mark):

Ellen DeGeneres @TheEllenShow

.@RobGronkowski is out of retirement, thanks to an influential friend of his. @TomBrady https://t.co/cnX8X23MiO

"Everyone keeps asking me, did Tom get you to Tampa? Well, of course it didn't hurt that Tom went to Tampa, you know, and the opportunity to go to Tampa was there too. But Tom was like the appetizer, and then there's a few other reasons. I love the weather.

"But the main course, the main reason why I came down to Tampa to play is because my mother lives two hours away. She can get to all my games, all eight of our home games. Whenever I have days off, she's two hours down the street and I get to see her."

Gronkowski was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. The four-time All-Pro won three Super Bowl titles alongside Brady (2014, '16, '18) before announcing his retirement in March 2019.

The Patriots traded Gronkowski to Tampa in late April:

Jay Glazer @JayGlazer

Gronk has now passed his physical. Trade is for him and 7th for Bucs fourth-round selection.

Jeff Darlington @JeffDarlington

Gronk reuniting with Brady — wherever Brady ended — always felt like a real scenario behind the scenes. I can’t understate the appreciation, on and off the field, they have for each other. Gronk was done with the Patriots… but he never wanted to be done catching TDs from Brady.

And Brady, who signed a two-year deal with the Bucs during free agency in March, is ready to "run it back" for his seventh championship and fourth with Gronk:

Tom Brady @TomBrady

Time to run it back @RobGronkowski! https://t.co/d4wmZLUV9n

Gronkowski has caught more touchdowns from Brady (78) than any other receiver in the 42-year-old future Hall of Fame quarterback's 20-year career. Overall, Gronkowski has recorded 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns on 521 catches.