BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are reunited, and the NFL is excited about that. The Bucs — not normally a staple on nationally televised games — will be appearing in five prime-time games in 2020, tied for the most in the NFL. That power duo undoubtedly accounts for most of that change in the way the world is looking at the Buccaneers in 2020.
And according to head coach Bruce Arians, the reconnection of TB12 and RG87 all came thanks to the recruiting work of Brady.
“It was really Tom. Tom brought it up to me, and I didn’t even think it was a possibility that [Gronkowski] wanted to come back. And [Brady] was adamant about, yeah, he really wants to play. He’d love to play with us,” Arians told ESPN. “So [general manager] Jason Licht got the ball rolling with the Patriots, the conversation was there, and he’s working out, he’s in great shape and he’s raring to go. So we’re really looking forward to getting on the practice field.”
That may certainly be the way things played out; it would also have to be the way things played out for the Bucs to avoid any traces of tampering. It would have been legal for Licht to initiate contact with the Patriots out of the blue, but if the Bucs had any contact with Gronkowski specifically about playing football when he was retired but still under contract with the Patriots, it would have been bit more Tamper Bay than Tompa Bay.
Previously, Brady had said he’d love to play with Gronkowski again but supported his friend’s decision to walk away from the game and wouldn’t try to convince the tight end to change his mind. Yet with a new outlook and a new football home, things changed quickly for the dynamic QB-tight end duo. And now America will be getting a heavy dose of Buccaneers football in 2020.