Rob Gronkowski Says He'll Play for Buccaneers This Season Under One Condition

It's not clear if Rob Gronkowski will return to the NFL and play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this fall. But if one big thing happens, the legendary tight end will be in a Buccaneers uniform when the team kicks off the season in September. When speaking with Sports Illustrated, Gronkowski said he'll return to the NFL if Julian Edelman unretires and play for the Buccaneers with Tom Brady

"Oh yeah, if Julian signs with the Bucs right now, I'm coming back for a whole 'nother year," Gronkowski told Sports Illustrated, per CBS Sports. "Hands down. I was just with him last night. He needs to sign with the Bucs." Edelman, who will turn 36 this month, retired from the NFL last year. He spent his entire career with the New England Patriots (2009-2020) and helped the team win three Super Bowls. Edelman was named Super Bowl LIII MVP after catching 12 passes for 141 yards. He was the first wide receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP in 10 years. Edelman announced his retirement after the Patriots ended his contract because he failed a physical.

"I've always said I'm going until the wheels come off, and they've finally fallen off," Edelman said in a video posted on his Twitter account at the time. "Due to an injury last year, I'll be making my official announcement of my retirement from football. It was a hard decision but the right decision for me and my family. I'm honored and so proud to be returning a Patriot."  

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Edelman finished his career with 620 catches for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns. He also had 2,612 return yards and four return touchdowns. "By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career – wins, championships, production – Julian has it all," Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. "Few players can match Julian's achievements, period, but considering his professional trajectory and longevity, the group is even more select. It is historic. This is a tribute to his legendary competitiveness, mental and physical toughness and will to excel. Day in and day out, Julian was always the same: all out." It's not likely Edleman will return due to the injuries he suffered towards the end of his career. But Buccaneers fans are hoping Gronkowski returns to the Brady can have his favorite target for what could be another Super Bowl run in 2022.