In the twilight of his career, Rob Gronkowski has already shown to be choosy about his quarterbacks in coming out of retirement for a two-year run with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. But with Brady now retired himself, the gregarious free-agent tight end suggested that the Bengals' Joe Burrow might be his next passing pairing.
"I kinda like this young buck quarterback. He's in the Super Bowl now: It's Joe Burrow, man," Gronkowski told Autograph NFTs on Tuesday, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I watched him in college. I just love the way he presents himself out on the football field. In the pocket, he's just so calm and he just slings it out on the field. ... I just love his swag, too."
Gronk, of course, still has to decide whether to return to the NFL at all before he cherry picks another quarterback. In the aftermath of the Buccaneers' Divisional Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the 32-year-old veteran said he was leaning toward hanging up his cleats, but noted he'd not had time to fully gather his thoughts. Less than three weeks later, with another run with Brady now off the table, Burrow has caught his eye.
And why wouldn't he?
In his second pro season, and coming off a torn ACL, Burrow has led the Bengals to the brink of their first Super Bowl title with 5,453 passing yards over 19 starts, including the postseason. Gronk, for his part, looked plenty young enough this season to run it back again -- his 802 yards in the regular season were his highest total since an All-Pro year in 2017.
The fit wouldn't be a bad one -- the Bengals' top tight end, C.J. Uzomah, will be a free agent himself this offseason and is coming off career-best production. If Uzomah lands elsewhere, Gronk could be a fine plug-in at the position. And he's leaving no doubt about who his favorite quarterback option might be.
"If I had to pick a quarterback, it'd be the young buck Joe Burrow," Gronkowski added. "He's killing it right now in the game."