The ‘Will He/Won’t He’ Continues For Bucs, Gronkowski

For a lot of the offseason, there was a lingering query about Rob Gronkowski’s future with the Bucs. Everybody understood that the longer term Corridor of Fame tight finish was going to take his time deciding whether or not or to not return for one more yr of soccer. However on the similar time, the final consensus gave the impression to be that he would finally resolve to return again to Tampa Bay for another season.

Then, final week, Gronkowski introduced his retirement. It was considerably of a shock, however everybody accepted his resolution. The “will he/gained’t he” saga was over… for about 5 minutes. Not lengthy after the preliminary report about his resolution after which his personal affirmation of his retirement, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted this:

Gronkowski’s retirement tweet got here at 2:29 p.m. on June 21. Schefter’s tweet, with hypothesis a couple of return from Gronkowski’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, dropped two minutes later. So, with that, the hypothesis will solely proceed. The long-running concept was that Gronkowski would signal with the Bucs simply earlier than coaching camp begins in July. Now, there are theories about him skipping coaching camp and signing after. Others suppose he may re-join the Bucs throughout the season. And a few even appear to suppose it is perhaps doable that he comes again for a playoff run.

In fact, nobody may very well be blamed for considering that Gronkowski doesn’t come again in any respect. He did, in any case, announce his retirement. Tom Brady’s retirement and eventual return 40 days later has conditioned everybody to anticipate the identical together with his longtime teammate. Nevertheless it’s honest to suppose that this time, Gronkowski is actually carried out with soccer. It’s his second retirement, as he took a yr off in 2019 earlier than making a comeback in 2020 with Brady and the Bucs. This time, although, it is perhaps completely different. No less than, that’s what former teammate Rob Ninkovich thinks.

Ninkovich: ‘I Suppose This Is Extra Everlasting.’

Talking about Gronkowski’s retirement on ESPN’s Get Up final week, Ninkovich identified quite a lot of causes as to why this might actually be the tip of the road for the legendary tight finish.

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

“I believe that is extra everlasting – I don’t see Rob coming again, I actually don’t. I believe at this level, this can be a completely different really feel versus the final time he retired,” Ninkovich mentioned. “There was plenty of issues happening. He wasn’t feeling nice. He took a yr off, he got here again [and] he gained one other Tremendous Bowl taking part in with Tom Brady. And consider it this manner. Rob has completed greater than another tight finish in historical past. And Rob has carried out extra in his profession than anybody else in historical past. Actually, he’s the best tight finish of all time. So, with these 4 Tremendous Bowl rings, with every part that he’s completed, he doesn’t need to proceed to play.

“His physique, he’s already been by means of it. He’s had the surgical procedures. He’s carried out every part that you would presumably consider. The spiking and all the good landing catches and all of the celebration. On the flip facet of that, he’s additionally coping with issues, he’s needed to have a bunch of surgical procedures. He’s had his again labored on. He’s had his knee carried out, he’s had his ankle carried out [and] he’s had plenty of issues off the sector that you just don’t see as a fan. So, I actually do suppose that Rob goes to stroll away. And I don’t see him coming again.”

Whereas all of these ideas are 100% legitimate, that’s not going to cease the hypothesis. Just some days after Ninkovich mentioned he can’t see it occurring, former NFL govt Mike Tannenbaum had the precise reverse opinion on the exact same present.

Tannenbaum: ‘100%’ Gronkowski Returns To Bucs

It doesn’t really feel like a stretch to say that almost all of soccer followers and media members are on the facet of anticipating one other return from retirement for Gronkowski. On Monday’s version of ESPN’s Get Up, Tannenbaum defined why he has little question that the 11-year veteran will as soon as once more be a Buc.

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski and QB Tom Brady

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski and QB Tom Brady – Picture by: USA At present

“100% he comes again. Tom Brady, when he says ‘G0,’ [Gronk] says ‘Sure, how briskly and the way excessive?’ Look, they don’t want Gronk for 17 video games, guys,” Tannenbaum mentioned. “They want Gronk in consequential moments. Third down, pink zone, coming down the stretch. Perhaps it’s 15, 20 performs a recreation. Jeff [Darlington] brings up a terrific level. A variety of veterans don’t like coaching camp. Gronk doesn’t want it. However we want high quality performs, not amount performs, and he may very well be the distinction of them beating the Rams down the stretch. So, when Tom Brady says ‘Hey, Gronk. It’s time to go,’ I’ve little question in my thoughts he’ll be a Buccaneer.”

Tannenbaum was then requested about Brady and the Bucs probably having to maneuver on with out Gronkowski and the way that might have an effect on their Tremendous Bowl hopes. He took that chance to double down on his current reward of Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles.

“I believe it’s going to be actually laborious – I believe they nonetheless have a very good crew. I believe an underrated storyline is Todd Bowles. I’ve labored with Todd earlier than. He’s a terrific coach, not an excellent coach,” Tannenbaum mentioned. “You concentrate on a man like Invoice Belichick. Struggled in Cleveland, takes a while off, turns into a head coach once more [and] the remaining is historical past. I’m not saying Todd Bowles goes to be Invoice Belichick, however why not? Why can’t he have a terrific second chapter as a head coach? This can be a crew that missed over 47 video games on protection [last year]. I believe this crew is loaded and Gronk, down the stretch, solely makes them that a lot better.”