By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Much like Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is fielding questions about his future. And much like Brady, Gronk is doing his best to push that decision off as long as possible.

Brady and Gronkowski are thinking about 2022 and not the NFC Championship Game after Tampa Bay’s season came to an end in the Divisional Round on Sunday. Brady said following Tampa’s loss to the L.A. Rams that it was much too soon for him to make such an important decision, and Gronkowski used that same play on Monday. He told reporters that it will be at least a couple of weeks before he decides on playing again in 2022 or retiring for the second time.

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Gronkowski did throw out an interesting morsel on Monday, though. He and Brady have long been connected at the hip, with Gronkowski coming out of retirement in 2020 to join Brady on the Bucs. It’s long been believed that Gronk will go as long as Brady does in Tampa.

But on Monday, Gronkowski said that may not be the case. Even if Brady does decide to hang them up this offseason, there is a chance that Gronkowski could be back with the Buccaneers in 2022.

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“I could see a scenario like that — never say never,” Gronk told reporters, via 95.3 WDAE. “I’m just going to do what’s best for myself in the football world and we’ll see how I feel in a couple weeks.”

Gronkowski, who will turn 33 in May, was still an important piece of Tampa’s offense in 2021. He caught 55 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns, adding another nine catches for 116 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs. Health still remains a concern with Gronk, as he missed five games during the regular season due to injury.

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But he still had his best season since 2017, when he was an All-Pro, and if he feels he can still play at that high level, it sounds like he’ll be back in 2022. And it doesn’t sound like another year of football for Gronk depends on Brady deciding to play another year as well.

CBSBoston.com Staff