Former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski will come out of retirement to reunite with Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to the NFL.
Gronkowski announced his retirement in 2019, but will now be traded by the Patriots to the Bucs in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, the league tweeted. Brady sent shockwaves through the NFL in March when the longtime Patriots quarterback decided to leave New England for Tampa Bay.
The tight end has remained in the spotlight, as he became the WWE 24/7 champion earlier this month during the franchise’s Wrestlemania event.
Gronkowski announced his retirement just shy of turning 30 in an Instagram post, but had been rumored to be considering leaving football since the end of the 2017 season. The tight end opened up in August about his decision to go.
“I want to be clear to my fans, I needed to recover,” Gronkowski said during a speaking event. “I was not in a good place, football was bringing me down. I didn’t like it and I was losing that joy in life.”
When he stopped playing football in 2019, Gronkowski was one of the most revered tight ends in the league with 521 receptions, 7,861 receiving yards and 79 touchdowns, according to the NFL. He has since worked as an analyst for Fox Sports and made a few television appearances, including a stint on “The Masked Singer.”
It’s unclear exactly what prompted Gronkowski’s return to professional football, but he was notably close with Brady during their time together on the Patriots.
Brady won six Super Bowls for New England during his 20 seasons with the team, sharing three of those championship title with Gronkowsky.
The quarterback wrote a touching tribute to his friend on Instagram last year after Gronkowski announced his retirement. Brady wrote that Gronk, as he’s widely known, brought an inspiring and positive energy to everyone he came into contact with.
“Not just that, but for as great as a player you are, you are a better teammate and person,” Brady wrote. “The NFL was a better place with you in it!”