Rob Gronkowski to Coach Against Tedy Bruschi in Arizona Spring Football Game

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates his second touchdown during the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Jason Behnken/Associated Press

Two of the all-time greatest University of Arizona football players will play a role in the Wildcats' spring game April 24.

According to Justin Spears of Tucson.com, Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch revealed that Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski will serve as a coach in the spring game, and he will coach against former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who is now a senior adviser to Fisch.

Spears noted that it will mark Gronk's first appearance at Arizona Stadium since the 2011 spring game following his NFL rookie season with the Pats.

Gronk, 31, played for the Wildcats from 2007-08, registering 75 receptions for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns in 22 games.

He was selected by the Pats in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft and went on to become one of the best tight ends in NFL history.

In his nine seasons with the Pats, Gronk recorded 521 catches for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns. He was also named a Pro Bowler five times and First-Team All-Pro four times while winning three Super Bowls.

Gronk retired for one season, but he returned in 2020 and followed quarterback and close friend Tom Brady to Tampa. That decision paid dividends, as Gronk won his fourth Super Bowl, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the Super Bowl LV win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

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The 47-year-old Bruschi was a defensive lineman at the University of Arizona from 1991-95. He was a three-time All-Pac-10 selection, two-time Consensus All-American and the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1995.

Bruschi was selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 1996 NFL draft and quickly converted to linebacker.

He went on to become one of the most beloved figures in franchise history, spending all 13 of his NFL seasons in New England. Bruschi was a three-time Super Bowl champion, one-time Pro Bowler and the 2005 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

With the spring game, Arizona will look to get the 2021 season off on the right foot, as it went 0-5 last season and finished with a losing record in each of the past three campaigns.

That led to the firing of Kevin Sumlin and hiring of Fisch, who was the Patriots' quarterbacks coach last season.