The Bucs took a hit on Tuesday when tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from football. But as much as that impacts the team in a football sense, it’s also a sad day for the Tampa Bay locker room.

Because as elite of a football player as Gronkowski has been during his 11-year NFL career, he’s been just as elite when it comes to being a personality. Anyone who knows anything about him can tell you that.

Longtime teammate and best friend, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, said in a Tuesday Instagram post that having the future Hall of Fame tight end in the locker room was “every NFL player’s dream.”

Bucs QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski

Bucs QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski – Photo by: USA Today

It’s not hard to see why Brady said that. Teammates, coaches, fans, media and anyone who has ever paid attention to Gronkowski knows how much fun he is. He insisted in 2020 that despite his Hall-of-Fame receiving numbers, he came to Tampa to be a blocking tight end.

Over the last couple of years, he and Brady made everyone laugh with their “Tommy and Gronky” series put together by the Bucs. And generally anything Gronkowski has done outside of football has been entertaining.

Before returning to football and joining the Bucs in 2020, he was on Fox’s The Masked Singer. There was also the time he smashed a Steve Harvey Lego head in front of Steve Harvey. That was a little more divisive. Some thought it was funny, some didn’t. There was also plenty of talk about whether it was real or staged, but I digress.

The point is, Gronkowski truly does it all, both on and off the field. The Bucs are going to miss that. You don’t just replace a presence like that in the locker room, but Tampa Bay still has plenty of personalities littered throughout its roster.

That’s important because a 17-game season is a long season, spanning four, hard months. Football is a grind, but having a fun locker room certainly helps.

Bucs Don’t Lack Charisma, Even In Gronk’s Absence

The good thing for Tampa Bay is that it has a good variety of characters in its locker room. You don’t have to look far for one of them. Brady himself has been a new man since joining Tampa Bay. His social media presence is similar to that of your average internet troll, only with higher production value. From self-deprecating humor to jokes about Peyton Manning’s forehead, Brady isn’t afraid to have a laugh. As business-like as he is when it comes to preparation and execution, he still brings a unique sense of humor to the Bucs.

Outside of Brady, there’s Ryan Jensen, who’s certainly a personality. He wore Brady’s famous NFL Combine photo on a shirt when he arrived to the stadium for Super Bowl LV. He’s also never been shy about discussing the measures he, as Brady’s center, has to take to avoid butt sweat. There’s also a bit of Jensen’s brawling playing style that bleeds over into his personality, making him a Buc who is easy to gravitate toward.

Leonard Fournette, with his various “Lenny” nicknames, is a character in his own right. We also know how energetic and loud Devin White is. You can always count on him for some captivating “mic’d up” moments. No. 1 corner Carlton Davis isn’t afraid to talk some smack and show a little grit himself. He’s still responsible for one of the best tweets of the last few years, at least in this writer’s humble opinion.

Bucs LG Luke Goedeke

Bucs LG Luke Goedeke – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

There are plenty of established personalities on the Bucs’ roster. They also added another one in second-round pick Luke Goedeke. Similar to Jensen, he brings a nasty, thrilling-to-watch style to the field. And he’s already proven to be a fantastic quote, calling himself a “glass eater” whose goal is to “bury guys and just put fear in their eyes.”

He hasn’t played an NFL down yet, but you can tell Goedeke’s going to be a fun one.

While none of these guys provide quite what Gronkowski did in a personality sense, they still have a lot of value to add to the locker room. They certainly have proven, in their own unique ways, to make the Bucs an interesting team, Gronk or no Gronk.

And what’s also important to note is that there are countless players who will continue to do amazing work in the community like Gronkowski did. Jensen, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Will Gholston, Donovan Smith and a host of others do fantastic work in the Tampa Bay area and beyond. The Bucs as an organization have always excelled in that aspect.

There’s no denying that there’s now a big Gronk-sized hole in the Bucs’ locker room. In truth, it can’t be filled. But no one should be trying to fill it.

No one can be Rob Gronkowski except for Rob Gronkowski.

Rather, this crop of Bucs has plenty of personality already. They can continue to be themselves and maintain their championship atmosphere and togetherness in the locker room. And all the while, there will be no shortage of entertainment, both on and off the field, for the Buccaneer faithful to enjoy.

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About the Author: Bailey Adams

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