In a stunning series of developments, Rob Gronkowski has come out of retirement today.
“Gronk,” one of the best tight ends in NFL history, retired after the 2018 season when he helped the New England Patriots win another Super Bowl with a win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Gronkowski had no desire to return to Bill Belichick and the Patriots, though. According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he told the club that drafted him that he only wanted to play if it traded him to Tampa Bay for a reunion with Tom Brady.
With only one team to negotiate a trade with and hurdles galore to clear if it wanted to absorb Gronkowski’s $10 million cap hit, New England wasn’t able to get much in return.
This is a huge score for the Buccaneers, who only had to part with their fourth-round pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft and got back New England’s seventh-round selection and a future Hall of Famer.
Gronkowski is still young, turning 31 next month, and his body has had had nearly 15 months to recover from lingering injuries.
Gronkowski told Fox Sports in a text message: “I’m back. I always said when I have that feeling and it feels right, I will be ready to take the field again. And I have that feeling. I’m ready.”
The five-time Pro-Bowler started 11 of 13 games in 2018, hauling in 47 receptions for 682 yards and three touchdowns. He posted career numbers in his second season as a pro in 20111, making 90 catches for 1,327 yards and 17 TDs.
Tampa Bay currently has the second-shortest odds to win the NFC South (+175) behind New Orleans, the -125 ‘chalk.’ The Buccaneers’ season win total is nine (‘under’ -115, ‘over’ -105) at Sportsbook.
FanDuel has a proposition wager on which team wins more games during a 16-game regular season (bet voids if 16 games aren’t played). Tampa Bay is a -145 favorite vs. New England (+125).