Rob Gronkowski said Wednesday he had hinted at the possibility of
reuniting with Tom Brady months before his shock decision to come out of
retirement and follow the six-time Super Bowl champion to the Tampa Bay
In a conference call with reporters, Gronkowski said he had told
former New England Patriots team-mate Brady he was taking a keen
interest in the quarterback's career move after deciding he was ready to
return to the NFL.
Gronkowski stunned the NFL on Tuesday after announcing he was joining
Brady at Tampa Bay next season after a one-year exile from the sport.
The 30-year-old tight end revealed he had long had his eye on where Brady might land as he entered free agency.
Brady joined Tampa Bay last month after two decades with the Patriots.
"We rarely talked about what his decision was gonna be, where I'm at," Gronkowski said of his discussions with Brady.
"I told him like, 'Hey, I'm kinda getting that fire underneath me again.'
"I said, 'I'm definitely interested in the decision that you make.' I didn't put any pressure on him.
"I said, 'If there's a right opportunity out there, and [you] go
somewhere and that opportunity is right - even if you go back to the
Patriots and I feel like the opportunity is right - there's a possible
chance that I would definitely love to reconnect.'"
Gronkowski spent nine seasons with the Patriots, winning three Super Bowls in tandem with Brady, before retiring in 2019.
The chance to reunite with the quarterback regarded as the greatest in NFL history was too good to pass up, Gronkowski said.
"Playing with Tom is special. He's one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time," Gronkowski said.
"And to build a connection with a quarterback, too, is something
special. Every time we get together, it's just like the old days. It
doesn't matter if we take a month off or six months apart; we just go
out there and we're throwing the ball just like it's a normal practice,
no matter what."
Gronkowski quit the NFL after helping the Patriots to their
record-equalling sixth Super Bowl in a victory over the Los Angeles Rams
It followed a lengthy injury history which included multiple concussions as well as serious knee and back injuries.
Gronkowski said the season out of sport had allowed his body to recuperate."I said it from the beginning, that I wouldn't come back unless if
I'm feeling it, unless if I'm feeling good, feeling healthy. And I'm
feeling like I'm ready to go," Gronkowski said.