Gronk says he wants to play for Bucs again in ’21


TAMPA, Fla. — The “Tommy and Gronky Show” will be back for another season if the two have their way.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski said Sunday that he wants to return in 2021 after coming out of retirement to join best pal Tom Brady this season.

“Yeah, you gotta,” Gronkowski said Sunday in an interview with former Patriot Willie McGinest on NFL Network. “I feel like this team was built to win right now. It was put together this year to win right now. It always pops up in your mind; you’re thinking about the future a little bit — I can definitely see this team also having a lot of talent come back and having another successful run next year, as well, with me.”

Gronkowski was asked 11 days ago if he would be back. But at the time, he couldn’t answer definitively.

“It’s just the start of playoffs right now,” Gronkowski said, before Tampa Bay’s wild-card win over Washington, a game in which he didn’t have a single catch but played a key role in keeping Brady clean in the pocket. “There’s always a time for that. The time to think about that is after the season ends.”

It turns out, he’s already made up his mind, even with the Bucs still in the playoff hunt, facing the New Orleans Saints Sunday in the NFC divisional round, a team that swept them 2-0 in the regular season.

“This time’s gotta be different,” Gronkowski said. “We really didn’t have that much success against them, especially in the second game. They absolutely whupped our butts. But the third time’s a charm. We’ve gotta go out there, and we’ve gotta play our best football if we want a chance to win.”

Brady and Gronkowski also have a chance to break Joe Montana and Jerry Rice’s postseason record for most touchdowns between a QB and receiving target.

“It is time [to break that tie],” Gronkowski said. “We’re in the playoffs. It didn’t happen last week. I’m getting another chance this week. You know I’m going for that, baby. You know we’re going for that record. … It’s gotta happen.”

The Bucs have several key players set to become unrestricted free agents after the season in Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette, Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David and Ndamukong Suh, but they’ll have close to $30 million in salary-cap space — eighth most in the league.

Gronkowski was also asked about the difference between Bruce Arians and Bill Belichick.

He said, “They’re both great coaches for sure. I love getting coached up, but one of the biggest things that I would just say is … the freedom! The freedom of just being yourself with the coaches.”

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