It's starting to get real for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Earlier this week the team showed off their new quarterback, Tom Brady, donning his new uniform for the first time since signing a two-year, $50 million deal in free agency. Now, Tampa is debuting another offseason prize in their colors as photos have now been released of tight end Rob Gronkowski rocking a Buccaneers uniform for the first time.
Gronkowski, who originally retired from the NFL following the 2018 season after the Patriots were able to win Super Bowl LIII, was acquired by the Buccaneers in a trade with the New England Patriots after the legendary tight end made it clear that he wanted to come out of retirement to specifically join Brady in Tampa Bay. He got his wish and now the NFL world is getting a quick glimpse at what Gronkowski will look like with his new team in 2020.
Gronkowski was awarded his familiar No. 87 by the Buccaneers, as fellow tight end Jordan Leggett, who originally owned the number, switched to No. 81 going forward. Along with the pictures of Gronkowski in a Bucs uniform, the team also released a video of the tight end's reaction to seeing his jersey for the first time a few weeks ago, where he noted that he would use them as his Mother's Day gift.
While many believe that it was Tom Brady who mainly pried Gronkowski out of retirement, the tight end did reveal on "The Ellen Show" back in late-May that it was actually his mother, who was the driving force to his NFL return and specifically to the Buccaneers.
"You know, everyone keeps asking me, 'Did Tom (Brady) get you to Tampa?' Well, of course it didn't hurt that Tom went to Tampa, you know, and the opportunity to go to Tampa was there too," he said. "But you know, Tom was like the appetizer, and then there's a few other reasons. I love the weather, but the main course, the main reason why I came down to Tampa to play is because my mother lives two hours away.
"She can get to all the games, all eight of our home games. Whenever I have days off, she's two hours down the street and I get to see her. So she's super excited."
The last time we saw Gronkowski on a football field, it did appear like he had lost a step, but was still productive. He caught 47 balls from Tom Brady in 2018 for 682 yards and three touchdowns over 13 regular-season games. In the playoffs that year, Gronkowski added 13 receptions and 191 receiving yards, which included a 29-yard reception in Super Bowl LIII to set up the game's lone touchdown. After a year off to allow his body to heal, it will be interesting to see how much magic Gronkowski can rekindle in 2020.
Nevertheless, he'll look pretty good trying.