By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Rob Gronkowski wants to keep the good times rolling. Just like Tom Brady, the tight end said he has no desire to retire from football — again — and wants to help the Buccaneers defend their Super Bowl LV title.

Gronkowski, who caught six passes for 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, will become a free agent for the first time in his career when the new league year begins.

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“I don’t see why I wouldn’t be back,” he said of another go with the Buccaneers.

While Gronk had a somewhat quiet regular season after taking a year off from football, he saved his best game for last. He connected with his old pal Tom Brady for the first two touchdowns of Super Bowl LV (making a little NFL postseason history in the process), and was back to his jovial frat boy self after the game.

“I did have a ball this year,” he said with that giant Gronkowski grin. “It was just a great atmosphere and I loved being here. It was just an amazing year to be here with so many great players. There was no one that was selfish this year, and that’s what made this team special and that’s why we got this far. That’s why we’re champions; we worked together as a team.”

It was a much different story Sunday evening from two years ago, when Gronk won his final Super Bowl with the Patriots. After New England’s win over the L.A. Rams in Super Bowl LIII, Gronk looked both mentally and physically exhausted. After a few months of deciding on his future, he retired at the age of 29.

“I remember after that win I was so done,” he recalled Sunday. “I was just glad it was over. The pain I was in; it was great to be a champion but it was great to be done.”

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That retirement lasted just 13 months though, as Brady convinced Gronkowski to join him in Tampa. Gronkowski said it was a “series” of conversations that convinced him to come back.

“He hit me up and was like, ‘Would you come down?’ And I was like, ‘I’ve been waiting for you to make a move.’ It’s just an unbelievable story,” said Gronk. “There’s a lot more conversations that went down, but we’re just going to keep them between us.

“I retired from being retired, which is pretty cool,” Gronk added. “Coming down here to this journey, I saw that it was a great opportunity. I love Florida. A great opportunity to be in great weather, go to work in T-shirts and sandals — that’s my style.

“What a journey it’s been, what a story it has been,” he continued. “What a start and what a finish. It was the real deal.”

Asked about winning another title with Brady — the quarterback’s seventh of his Hall of Fame career — Gronk called it “one of the greatest accomplishments in sports history.”

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“Coming to this organization, they were an organization ready to win,” he said. “The players were ready. To come in and be a small, big part of it and play my role, it was just amazing. To come here and have a situation like this, with so many great players and to be Super Bowl 55 champs, it’s just surreal.”

CBSBoston.com Staff