Bruce Arians impressed with Rob Gronkowski: 'He looks to me like he was 5 or 6 years ago'

Ryan Young
·2 min read

Bruce Arians hasn’t been around tight end Rob Gronkowski much yet since he decided to come out of retirement and rejoin Tom Brady in Tampa.

So far, however, Arians has seen the same Gronkowski who dominated the NFL several years ago with the New England Patriots.

The injuries, Arians said Thursday, are a thing of the past.

“The back surgeries have healed. So he had a year of healing,” Arians said, via ESPN. “He looks to me like he was five or six years ago.”

Gronkowski retired after the 2018 season and did not play in 2019, though he opted to team up with the quarterback who helped him compile a Hall of Fame-worthy career.

The 31-year-old recorded just 682 yards and three touchdowns on 47 receptions in his final season in the league, significantly less than normal for the five-time Pro Bowler.

While Arians was impressed with Gronkowski, he did note one thing he still needs to work on.

“He’s probably in New England shape right now. He’s not in Florida shape,” Arians said Monday, laughing. “The heat’s kicking his ass pretty good.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski catches a pass practice on Thursday. (AP/Chris O'Meara)

Gronk not ‘moving like poop’

Arians isn’t alone in his assessment, either.

According to the man himself, he’s doing great physically.

"I'm feeling good out there," Gronkowski said, via ESPN. "My body feels good — that's why I came back to the game, and that's how I want to be moving. I want to be moving like how I was back in the day, no doubt about that.

“Why ... would I want to come back to the game and be moving like poop? I'm here to move. I'm here to make plays.”

Gronkowski’s role with the team is still in question, and rightfully so. He’s had a full year off from the game, after all, and has to learn an entire new system for essentially the first time since he joined the league back in 2010.

The Bucs have an impressive group of tight ends, too, as O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate can help shoulder the load.

According to Gronkowski, however, there’s no reason why he can’t always be out on the field.

“I’ll play the whole game if I have to,” he said, via ESPN. “I don’t see why that would be the problem. I’ve never not played basically every snap in my career.”

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