BOSTON (CBS) — There is a great conspiracy theory out there that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski spent the last two years orchestrating an NFL reunion somewhere other than New England. When they both became Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason, that theory gained a lot more followers.
It didn’t help that Gronkowski has spent a lot of time talking about how much “fun” life is going to be now that he’s back with Brady on a new team, but the tight end maintains that there was no master plan to escape the evil clutches of one Bill Belichick.
“No, no that actually was really never the case,” Gronkowski told CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “As a player, you always want to see what it’s like somewhere else. [I] thought of that before definitely after playing nine years in the NFL and also thought about it when I came out of retirement. This is an opportunity to go see what it’s like somewhere else, to go see what it’s like in the NFL on another squad. There’s so many players that bounce around on so many different teams.
“I loved my time in New England, no doubt about it. But it was another opportunity that presented,” Gronk continued. “But no, we never really ever talked about that before. It kind of just happened. [With] my retirement and him hitting free agency, it kind of just lined up like that.”
Brady left New England as a free agent this offseason following a 20-year run with the Patriots. Gronkowski hung up his cleats ahead of last season, but with Brady joining the Buccaneers and the tight end feeling healthy following his year away from football, a comeback just made sense to him.
“I don’t like to spill all the beans, but when Tom went down to Tampa, it just looked like a great situation, a great opportunity,” Gronkowski said. “I wasn’t just going to come back out of retirement just to come out of retirement. . . . Definitely one of [the factors] was Tom going down to Tampa. That was a big connection. To gain chemistry with a quarterback is not an easy task. That’s time you got to put in. That’s a lot of work you got to put it. And we put in work for the last – before this year – nine years. I just kind of felt like it was a great situation to continue with Tom.”
Perhaps there was always a little wink and a nod that Gronk would consider following Brady should the QB leave New England after the 2019 season (Brady’s impending free agency was no secret, after all). Gronkowski made it clear during his playing days that he didn’t want to play for any other quarterback besides Brady, so when the opportunity for a reunion actually presented itself, he took the plunge.