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Patriots trade Rob Gronkowski to Bucs to play with Tom Brady

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The New England Patriots have traded tight end Rob Gronkowski to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Gronkowski is coming out of retirement has been dealt along with a seventh-round pick to the Bucs for a fourth-round pick, according to the report. The trade became official when Gronkowski passed his physical later Tuesday, according to Schefter. The Bucs later confirmed the news.

The news arrived on Tuesday shortly after a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that Gronkowski was interested in playing football again, but only to play with Brady and the Bucs.

Gronk’s return from injury-riddled Patriots run

Gronkowski hasn’t played since the 2018 season that ended with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl over the Los Angeles Rams. He retired prior to last season following nine years with the Patriots that included three Super Bowl rings and a multitude of injuries that took their toll on his body.

Gronkowski said last August that he suffered a painful quad injury during the Super Bowl victory over the Rams that resulted in internal bleeding and procedures to remove blood from his leg. That ailment on top of his estimated 20 concussions and injuries to his knee, ankle, back, arm and chest over the course of his career played a role in his decision to retire.

But the opportunity to reunite with Brady in a new setting were enough to lure him back to the football field.

Gronkowski has one year and $10 million remaining on a contract that will remain valid once his return to the league is official.

The lure of reuniting with Tom Brady has brought Rob Gronkowski out of retirement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The lure of reuniting with Tom Brady has brought Rob Gronkowski out of retirement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

What kind of shape is Gronk in?

Gronkowski, 30, is widely considered the best tight end to ever play the game. He retired at a young age and has visibly shed a significant portion of his playing weight since leaving the Patriots. What kind of playing shape he’ll be in whenever the NFL starts again is a mystery.

A five-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro, Gronkowski played in 13 games during his final season with the Patriots, tallying 682 yards and three touchdowns, well off his peak production. Gronkowksi has four seasons of more than 1,000 yards receiving and five seasons with at least 10 touchdowns.

Loaded receiving corps in Tampa

He joins an offense already loaded with receiving talent and likely won’t be asked to carry as heavy a load as he did in New England.

Wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both made the Pro Bowl catching passes from Jameis Winston last season, and fourth-year tight end O.J. Howard has the tools to be a dangerous receiver lining up in an offense alongside Gronkowski if he remains with the team.

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