Being a Super Bowl champion is nothing new to Rob Gronkowski as the legendary tight end already had three rings to flash prior to his Tampa Bay Buccaneers now winning Super Bowl LV to give him a fourth. What is set to become new for him, however, is his looming free-agent status. For the first time in his career, Gronkowski is set to hit the open market at the start of the new league year in 2021 and while he could dip his toes in the free-agent waters, it sure sounds like he's aiming for a return to Tampa Bay.
"Yeah, I'll remain unretired," Gronkowski told reporters after his two-touchdown performance in Super Bowl LV. "I'm a free agent. It's the first time in my career that I'm a free agent. I signed basically like an eight-year contract and basically played it all out -- signed that when I was 22 years old. And it's just pretty incredible to play out a contract like that -- with a retirement in between. That's surreal. But I definitely see myself coming back, just the guys around here, the players around here, the coaches, the people in the front office, they're all just great people. I loved working with them all year long. So, obviously going to soak this in and see where I'm at in a couple weeks, but I don't see why not. I don't see why I won't be back."
This isn't the first time that Gronkowski has pointed to his desire to return in 2021 and to the Buccaneers. Back in mid-January, he told the NFL Network that he was leaning toward a return next season and, despite his free-agent status, seemed to assume he'll be with Tampa Bay. Of course, when a team wins a Super Bowl, however, there could be a desire to go out on top again, which is why Gronkowski's latest statements confirming his wishes to play beyond this season are noteworthy.
Gronkowski retired following his former Patriots team winning Super Bowl LIII but came back out of retirement to join Tom Brady down in Tampa Bay. Given the strong connection between those two, it does seem unlikely that he'd want to build up a rapport with another quarterback somewhere else in the NFL. Not only that, but the Buccaneers will have a healthy amount of cap space to bring the tight end back and he'll likely be looking to repeat as Tampa Bay looks to defend its title in 2021.
"It's hands down one of the greatest accomplishments in sports history," Gronkowski said when asked about winning this Super Bowl in his and Brady's first season with the Buccaneers. "I don't know if it's the greatest, but I would say it's up there for sure. To come down here to Tampa, to come to an organization that was ready to win, come down here with the players -- they're all fantastic players, great guys, just everyone overall. I mean, the story is just unbelievable. It definitely ranks up there as one of my biggest accomplishments ever."
Gronkowski led all Buccaneers receivers with six catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-9 win over Kansas City. The tight end's first touchdown of the day -- an eight-yard screen delivered by Tom Brady -- broke the tie he and Brady shared with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice (12) for the most playoff touchdowns by any QB-receiver combo. As they continue to break records and win Super Bowls, it looks like these two all-time greats will continue to be a headache for opposing defenses for a little while longer.