Buccaneers not ruling out Rob Gronkowski's return despite Tom Brady retiring

With Tom Brady's retirement official, one might expect tight end Rob Gronkowski to follow suit so the BFFs could enter the Hall of Fame in the same class. But Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht suggested Gronk could indeed continue his career sans Brady if the TE's body feels right.

"I think that's yet to be seen," Licht said Tuesday of Gronk retiring. "I'm giving Rob the respect to give him some time to see how he feels here in the next coming of weeks after a long, grueling season. When you played in the league for 11 years, you need a little time to think things through to see if you want to go through with it for another year. From my conversations with Rob, he just needs that. I don't think it's going to be dependent on whether Tom came back or not from what I understand, and I know that Rob had an incredible experience here as well. He was a big factor in us having the success that we had. We would welcome Rob back with open arms, but we're giving him his space right now to decide on what he wants to do."

Last week, Gronk said if he had to choose "right now," he'd retire but left the door open to return if his body head well in the next few weeks. That was before Tom Brady walked away after 22 years.

Gronkowski has always been tied at the hip with Brady, spending all 11 years of his career with TB12. Gronk unretired in 2020 specifically to join Brady in Tampa.

But for the Bucs, it's not a fait accompli that Gronk will hang it up once again even after his quarterback retired. If he doesn't retire in the coming weeks, the TE is one of many big-name free agents Licht will have to decide on this offseason. It could be a big rebuild now that their Super Bowl QB walked away.

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