All eyes in Tampa Bay are focused on the future of Tom Brady as the 44-year-old quarterback is reportedly mulling retirement. However, there's another Buccaneer who seems to be contemplating hanging up his cleats as well -- Rob Gronkowski. The veteran tight end is no stranger to walking away from the game as he initially retired following the 2018 season and only returned in 2020 to force a trade to the Bucs to join Brady in Tampa.
After the 2021 season, however, Gronkowski has kept his future up in the air. He took to social media on Monday to thank the fans and the organization as he finished up his 11th year in the league and did leave a question mark surrounding a possible return for Year 12.
While Gronkowski says that he will take some time to come to an ultimate decision on his playing future, he did tell TMZ Sports on Wednesday that if forced to make a decision right now he would retire.
"If they're like, 'Rob, you've got to decide right now, right this second if you're playing next year,' I would say no right now," he said. "I would be like, 'No, I'm not playing.'"
"I just want to heal completely, see where my thoughts are from there," Gronkowski continued. "Just let things settle down -- got to just heal a little bit. Fix all the bumps and bruises."
Of course, it will be interesting to see how much -- if any -- of Gronkowski's decision to come back or retire is determined by Brady's decision. The 32-year-old has said on a number of occasions in the past that Brady is the only quarterback he wants to play with. So, if he is no longer in the league, does that make a retirement decision any easier for Gronkowski? That remains to be seen.
No matter which way things fall with Brady and Gronkowski, the NFL world will be watching rather intently until that final word comes down on both fronts.