Rob Gronkowski didn’t play a whole lot of football during his time away from the NFL. In fact, he threw a football only two times last year.
But he he definitely kept busy.
“During that time that I was retired, I think I did every other sport besides football,” Gronkowski said on Tiki & Tierney. “I did every other exercise besides football exercises. I played football for 15 years. I was doing yoga, I was doing band workouts, I was doing pilates, I was just going to the beach to go play volleyball, I was playing cornhole, I was shooting basketball, I was rollerblading, ice hockey, you name the sport, I was playing baseball – you name the sport, I was doing it. I love to compete. I love sports. I’m an all-around athlete, I would say. I just enjoyed playing all types of sports, so when I got away from football, I stayed active. I stayed super active.”
And now he can be super active on Sundays – or any game day. Gronkowski, 31, signed a one-year with Tampa Bay, where he will rejoin former Patriots teammate Tom Brady.
Perhaps you’ve heard of him.
“I don’t like to spill all the beans, but when Tom went down to Tampa, it just looked like a great situation, a great opportunity,” Gronkowski said of the impetus for his return to the NFL. “I wasn’t just going to come back out of retirement just to come out of retirement. . . . Definitely one of [the factors] was Tom going down to Tampa. That was a big connection. To gain chemistry with a quarterback is not an easy task. That’s time you got to put in. That’s a lot of work you got to put it. And we put in work for the last – before this year – nine years. I just kind of felt like it was a great situation to continue with Tom.”
Gronkowski, perhaps the most dominant tight end in NFL history, caught 79 touchdown passes in 100 regular season games in New England. He was a four-time first-team All Pro and helped the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles.
The time to recapture that magic is now.
“I was feeling healthy,” Gronkowski said. “I had that juice going again. When Tom and I talked a little bit and just thought about the situation and how we can pull it off and everything – everything went well. Everything went down as planned and the situations all lined up. I thought it was a great opportunity that I couldn’t pass on. It’s just going to be fun. It’s going to be cool.”
As for their time in New England, Gronkowski said that he and Brady never plotted a potential second act elsewhere.
“No, no that actually was really never the case,” he said. “As a player, you always want to see what it’s like somewhere else. [I] thought of that before definitely after playing nine years in the NFL and also thought about it when I came out of retirement. This is an opportunity to go see what it’s like somewhere else, to go see what it’s like in the NFL on another squad. There’s so many players that bounce around on so many different teams. I loved my time in New England, no doubt about it. But it was another opportunity that presented. But no, we never really ever talked about that before. It kind of just happened. [With] my retirement and him hitting free agency, it kind of just lined up like that.”