The Tampa Bay Buccaneers addressed their need at tight end during the 2022 NFL Draft, adding two players, fourth-round pick Cade Otton and sixth-round pick Ko Kieft, to add depth to the unit. With that being said, the moves weren’t an indication of if star tight end Rob Gronkowski will be returning or not this year. Instead, it was a necessary investment to a room where the team didn’t have a single player who was younger than 29-years-old under contract entering the draft.
READ MORE: Rob Gronkowski Status Update Ahead of NFL Draft
In an interview last month with the New York Post, Gronkowski stated his confidence that it won’t take him very long to get in good enough shape to play football. In fact, it should only take about two weeks.
“I feel like I can get ready at any time for football, like it’ll take me two weeks only, so, I’m not really worried about it,” Gronkowski said. “It’s just cool just to be doing other things and enjoying them.”
The future Hall of Famer has remained noncommital about his status heading into the 2022 season. There are times when it seems like he’s content with stepping away from the other sport and others where you can tell he still has a desire to compete. With star quarterback Tom Brady coming out of retirement for at least one more year, it almost feels like a matter of when, not if, with Gronkowski.
READ MORE: Rob Gronkowski guarantees a return to Buccaneers, but under one condition
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Regardless of what he says in interviews, Gronk is continuing to stay in at least somewhat of playing shape. He was spotted working out with Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry towards the end of April and was a consistent face in the Buccaneers’ facilities at the beginning of the offseason.
Gronkowski returned from a much longer break than the one he’s on now in 2020 when he joined the Buccaneers after retiring from football for the 2019 season. Following a year off, he struggled to acclimate early on as he worked his way into shape. By the Super Bowl, he was back to being his normal self and carried that into 2021.
This past season, Gronkowski caught 55 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games while dealing with multiple injuries. We’ll continue monitoring his return but at a minimum, it likely won’t come until June at the earliest when the Buccaneers begin Mandatory Mini-Camp. And honestly, this could easily stretch out until training camp.
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