Rob Gronkowski return: Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles still unsure if tight end will play in 2022

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If Rob Gronkowski plans to play in 2022, that would be news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles confirmed Friday that nothing has changed about Gronkowski’s uncertain NFL future. The future Hall of Famer tight end has yet to make a public decision on whether or not to resume his career in 2022.

“It’s still the status quo,” Bowles said of Gronkowski, who celebrates his 33rd birthday on Saturday.

Bowles said he has no timetable for when Gronkowski could update him on his plans. Gronkowski recently said it only takes him two weeks to get back into shape as a footballer. The four-time Super Bowl champion also recently said he should play with the Buccaneers in 2022 will be the team he plays for.

“The Buccaneers’ situation is just too good if I decide to go back and play,” Gronkowski told SB Nation. “Like I said, I love all my teammates there. They are all great teammates and all selfless players, they are there for the team and what is best for the team and the whole organization. If I play football again, I’ll do it for the Bucs.”

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Gronkowski knows how to get back in football shape after a long break. He spent the 2019 season in retirement before joining Tom Brady in Tampa in 2020. After a slow start, Gronkowski caught 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns in his freshman season with the Buccaneers. He then caught two touchdown passes in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl win over Kansas City.

Gronkowski’s numbers were even better in 2021. Despite playing in just 12 games, Gronkowski caught 55 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns. It was his best statistical season since 2017, when he received All-Pro honors for the fourth time.

The Buccaneers picked two tight ends during the 2022 NFL Draft in case Gronkowski doesn’t come back for the upcoming season. But as Bowles reiterated Friday, the team is still leaving the door open for Gronkowski should he decide to return.

“I’m still giving him that time,” Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said during the draft about the Tampa Bay Times. “We’re still talking. I think it didn’t matter if we designed two tight ends. It wouldn’t matter. I think Rob appreciates that – the more the better for him. So that doesn’t show our hand or predict what is going to happen in the future.” Rob Gronkowski return: Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles still unsure if tight end will play in 2022

Justin Scacco

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