Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski said if he had to make an immediate decision about his football future, he’d walk away from the game again.
“If they’re like, ‘Rob, you’ve got to decide right now, right this second if you’re playing next year,’ I would say no right now,” Gronkowski, 32, told TMZ Sports. “I would be like, ‘No, I’m not playing.'”
At age 29, Gronkowski retired after nine seasons and three Super Bowl championships with the New England Patriots. He was lured back into the game by the appeal of playing again with Tom Brady when the legendary Patriots quarterback joined the Buccaneers before the 2020 season.
The two won a fourth Super Bowl together last year but fell short of the goal this season, losing to the Los Angeles Rams 30-27 on Sunday in the NFC divisional playoffs.
He acknowledged he could change his mind before the 2022 season. He told TMZ Sports that he has to get both his body and mind in sync before committing to return for a 12th NFL season.
“I just want to heal completely, see where my thoughts are from there,” Gronkowski said. “Just let things settle down — got to just heal a little bit. Fix all the bumps and bruises.”
He missed five games this season with multiple rib fractures and a punctured lung.
After the loss to the Rams, Brady said he will consult with his family and take time to decide whether to return for a 23rd season in which he’d be 45. Gronkowski said Brady’s decision will impact his.
“It will factor into the situation,” Gronkowski said. “He’s gotta do what he’s gotta do for himself and his family, no doubt about that. But then for myself, I gotta do what I gotta do, ya know, what’s best for myself, see where I’m at, how I’m feeling — all that type of stuff.”
In two seasons in Tampa, Gronkowski caught 100 passes for 1,425 yards and 13 touchdowns in 28 games.
In 143 career games, Gronkowski has 621 receptions for 9,286 yards with 92 touchdowns. He has been selected as a first-team All-Pro four times and ranks third all-time in TDs among tight ends.