Rob Gronkowski says he will play for the Buccaneers this season if Julian Edelman joins him, Tom Brady in Tampa Bay

Two years ago, Tom Brady convinced Rob Gronkowski to join him in Tampa Bay after a year of retirement. Now, it appears Gronkowski is taking a similar step to former Patriots teammate Julian Edelman.

Gronkowski, who has not committed to his plans for the 2022 season, said he will resume his career if Edelman joins him and former Patriots teammate Tom Brady in Tampa. Edelman retired last offseason after a 12-year career with the Patriots that included three Super Bowls and an MVP award after New England’s win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

“Oh yeah, if Julian signs with The Bucs right now, I’ll be back for another year,” Gronkowski told Sports Illustrated. “Hands off. I was only with him last night. He needs to sign with the Bucs.”

Edelman, who turns 36 on May 22, is the second of all time in the history of the Patriots for receptions (620), second for receiving yards (6,822) and ninth for touchdowns (36). Edelman crossed 1,000 yards for a season on three occasions that included his 100-catch, 1,117-yard, and six touchdown campaign in 2019, his final New England season with Brady as quarterback.

Chosen on the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Edelman is one of the most established post-season receivers in the league’s annals. His career playoff total of 118 receptions for 1,442 yards is the second all-time after NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Edelman’s biggest catches in the playoffs include his winning touchdown reception in Super Bowl XLIX and catching her with the tip of his finger during the Patriots rally in Super Bowl LI.

Injuries plagued Edelman during his final season at Foxborough. In six games, Edelman has received 21 passes for 315 yards, the lowest total since 2012. He retired less than four months into the 2021 low season.

“I’ve always said, I’ll go until the wheels come off,” Edelman said after announcing his retirement. “They finally fell.”

As for Gronkowski, the Buccaneers picked two tight ends during the 2022 NFL Draft in case Gronkowski doesn’t return for next season. The Buccaneers continue to hold the door open in case Gronkowski decides to resume his career.

“I’m still giving it that time,” Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said during the draft, via the Tampa Bay Times. “We talk more. I think it didn’t matter if we drafted two tight ends. It wouldn’t matter. I think Rob likes that, the more the better for him. So this doesn’t show our hand or predict what will happen in the future.”

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