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Gronk says he’ll play in 2022 if Julian Edelman signs with Bucs

The irreverent Bucs tight end made the statement during a Las Vegas beach party.
Quarterback Tom Brady, left, wide receiver Julian Edelman, center, and tight end Rob Gronkowski all played together in New England. It seems unlikely Edelman would come out of retirement for a reunion in Tampa.
Quarterback Tom Brady, left, wide receiver Julian Edelman, center, and tight end Rob Gronkowski all played together in New England. It seems unlikely Edelman would come out of retirement for a reunion in Tampa. [ WILFREDO LEE | Associated Press (2018) ]
Published May 2

Until he makes a definitive statement — or signature — regarding his future, every Rob Gronkowski sound bite regarding the 2022 season will make news.

Even the preposterous ones, uttered in a setting rife with revelry.

During an interview from his own beach party in Las Vegas during draft weekend, Gronk was asked by Sports Illustrated if he’d be willing to play a third season in Tampa Bay if old Patriots teammate Julian Edelman also signed with Tampa Bay.

“Oh yeah, if Julian signs with the Bucs right now, I’m coming back for a whole ‘nother year,” Gronkowski said. “Hands down. I was just with him last night, and he needs to sign with the Bucs.”

Considering the setting, Bucs fans might be wise to take the proclamation with a grain of salt — and lime.

Edelman, who turns 36 later this month, retired last spring after 12 seasons in New England. A college quarterback who evolved into one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets, he underwent minor knee surgery in October 2020, his final season.

“I always said, I’m gonna go until the wheels come off,” Edelman said in his retirement announcement. “They finally have fallen off.”

The Bucs, meantime, began making contingencies for Gronk’s possible retirement, drafting a pair of tight ends over the weekend. Still, general manager Jason Licht indicated the team still has a place for the future Hall of Famer should he opt to play in 2022.

“I’m still giving him that time,” Licht said Friday night. “We still talk. I think it didn’t matter if we drafted two tight ends. It wouldn’t matter. I think Rob welcomes that — the more the merrier for him. So that doesn’t show our hand on or foretell what’s going to happen in the future.”

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