As the Bucs await Rob Gronkowski’s decision on whether he will return for a twelfth season, he’s been busy with life outside of football. Gronk is gearing up to host the Nickelodeon Kids Choice awards on April 9 and as such, has been doing quite the media tour. The latest was a sit down on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
One of the subjects, among many, was Gronk’s eventual decision to return to football or retire. Kimmel asked the future Hall of Famer if his relationship with Tom Brady, on and off the field, makes him feel responsibility to come back.
“A little bit,” Gronkowski said. “That duo man, it’s just so hard to get that connection. Especially in the NFL world. It just doesn’t last that long. Just to see someone have that connection for 11-plus years. It’s definitely in the back of my mind.”
Gronkowski made it clear that the camaraderie part of playing football is something he is not shying away from. Rather the grueling grind of the schedule.
Bucs QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski and RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: USA Today
“It’s not really like, do I want to be there,” Gronkowski said. “It’s about playing the game. I want to be there with the guys. That’s the best part, being part of the team. It’s if, do i want to do that week in – week out schedule? It’s a brutal game. I’m blocking guys that are sometimes 300 pounds in front of me. They’re coming full speed, smashing me. I’m catching a pass up the middle, and right when I catch it and they’re smacking me from legs all the way up to to my shoulders. I’m getting decked. I do love it, but it can get grueling for sure.”
Early this week, in an interview with TMZ Sports, Gronk said he wasn’t ready to commit to the game of football at this time. Gronkowski was recently joined by Brady and Julian Edelman at a charity event in Naples, Fl. He said he refused to catch any passes from the GOAT in fear he would make a decision on returning before he was ready to.
“I knew if I started catching some passes that my head would have started turning,” Gronkowski said. “Like, ‘oh, crap. I got to get back out on the field’. 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.”
The Bucs are surely hoping Gronkowski decides to play one more year, but will not rush his decision. In the meantime, the team has done its’ due diligence on this year’s tight end class. They’ve met with or hosted several prospects, including Nebraska’s Austin Allen, Washington’s Cade Otton, and Colorado State’s Trey McBride.