Rob Gronkowski return: Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles still unsure whether tight end will play in 2022

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If Rob Gronkowski plans to play in 2022, that would be news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles confirmed on Friday that nothing has changed regarding Gronkowski’s uncertain NFL future. The future Hall of Fame tight end has yet to make a public decision on whether or not to resume his career in 2022.

“It’s still a status quo,” Bowles said of Gronkowski, who will be celebrating his 33rd birthday on Saturday.

Bowles said he has no timetable for when Gronkowski can notify him of his plans. Gronkowski recently said he would only need two weeks to get back into football form. The four-time Super Bowl champion also recently said that if he were to play in 2022, the Buccaneers will be the team he plays for

“The Buccaneers’ situation is just too good if I decide to go back and play,” Gronkowski told SB Nation. “Like I said, I love all my teammates there. They are all great teammates and all selfless players, they are there for the team and what is best for the team and the whole organization. If I play football again, I will it for the Buks.”

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Gronkowski manages to get back into football form after a long break. He spent the 2019 season in retirement before joining Tom Brady in Tampa in 2020. After a slow start, Gronkowski caught 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns during his first season with the Buccaneers. He then caught two touchdown passes in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl win over Kansas City.

Gronkowski’s numbers were even better in 2021. Despite playing in just 12 games, Gronkowski caught 55 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns. It was his best statistical season since 2017, when he took All-Pro honors for the fourth time.

The Buccaneers selected two tight ends during the 2022 NFL Draft in case Gronkowski doesn’t come back for next season. But as Bowles reiterated Friday, the team is still leaving the door open for Gronkowski should he decide to return.

“I still give him that time,” Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said during the draft, via the Tampa Bay Times† “We’re still talking. I think it didn’t matter if we had two tight ends lined up. It wouldn’t matter. I think Rob welcomes that – the more the better for him. So that doesn’t show our hand or predict what’s out there will happen in the future.”

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