Rob Gronkowski returning to NFL with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay

Written by on April 23, 2020

Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(TAMPA, Fla.) — Some people move to Florida when it’s time to retire, but former NFL star Rob Gronkowski has flipped the script on that narrative so he could get back in the game and join Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

In a move that stunned NFL fans on Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a trade to reunite the former New England Patriots teammates.

Brady shared a video on Twitter early Wednesday following the news with the caption “run it back” and tagged his once-again teammate.

In the video, Brady holds up and blows on a conch shell to summon Gronk, who ran out of the woods to Brady’s side and short of breath said, “a little tired, but Gronk reporting.”

As social media erupted over the offseason move, Brady also chimed in on the NFL’s Instagram post and wrote, “Run it back,” in the comments.

The news may not have sat well with some Patriots fans and even fellow players like wide receiver Julian Edelman, who apparently temporarily unfollowed Brady on social media after the news broke, according to a Patriots beat writer.

Ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday, the Buccaneers traded a fourth-round pick to the Patriots in exchange for Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick. Gronk’s early retirement in 2019 left one year on his contract extension from 2012 with the Patriots, which required a trade with the Bucs in order to reunite him with Brady.

After just one year apart, the dynamic tight end and quarterback duo will look to expand on their already winning combination that included 90 touchdown passes over nine seasons and three Super Bowl titles together.

Gronk announced his retirement in March 2019, shortly after the Patriots’ Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams and told ABC News at the time, “I knew I was done — I had to step away from the game of football — in order to let my body heal.”

Now, his agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN, the five-time Pro Bowler has been “really invigorated” physically since he left the NFL nearly 13 months ago.

“Rob Gronkowski is one of the best tight ends in NFL history and he plays the game with the type of passion and desire that sets him apart,” Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht said in a statement following the trade deal. “Rob combines elite-level skills as both a receiver and blocker but what really makes him special is the fact that he’s a proven winner who brings that championship mindset and work ethic.”

The boisterous NFL star, known for his wild touchdown spikes and dance celebrations, as well as his off field antics, was crowned a WWE champion and started a new CBD business in his year off the gridiron.

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