Even with a tight end room that had O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, the Buccaneers opted to trade for former New England Patriots - and then, retired - tight end Rob Gronkowski. To say that the move has paid off would be an understatement.
Though it appeared as though Howard was the TE1 for Tampa Bay, he suffered a season ending injury when he ruptured his achilles. It was then that Gronk started to return to form and become a big contributor to the Bucs’ offense.
Gronk finished the regular season with 45 receptions for 623 yards and seven touchdowns, not to mention he played his first full season since 2011. He and Tom Brady are now one touchdown connection away from securing the most touchdowns between a quarterback and a receiver (or in this case, a tight end) in NFL postseason history, passing Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.
On NFL Network Sunday during an interview with former Patriots teammate Willie McGinest, Gronk said he wants to return to the Bucs next season;
“I’ve been playing football in the NFL for 10 years and I’ve been in the playoffs all 10 years. That’s what’s up.” @RobGronkowski sat down with @WillieMcGinest ahead of the @Buccaneers Divisional Round showdown.— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 17, 2021
: @NFLGameDay Morning pic.twitter.com/IKXM6u7ko8
McGinest asked Gronk if he was going to come back for another year and “saddle up” with this team. Gronk responded, “Yeah, you gotta. I feel like this team was built to win right now, it was put together this year to win right now. It always pops up in your mind and you’re thinking about the future a little bit and I can also see this team have a lot of talent come back and have another successful run next year as well - with me.”
It’s no surprise Gronk would want to return to play with Brady and the Bucs again next season - the big question is will he stay in Tampa Bay beyond Brady’s career or will he retire again once Tom hangs up the cleats?