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Tom Brady on Gronk: ‘We’d all love to play with him’ in 2022

Bucs coach Todd Bowles reported no updates on the tight end’s 2022 status.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski own the record for most postseason touchdown-pass connections (15) in NFL history.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski own the record for most postseason touchdown-pass connections (15) in NFL history. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 9|Updated Jun. 9

TAMPA — Presumably, Tom Brady possesses a greater insight into longtime target Rob Gronkowski’s immediate future than just about anyone inside Bucs headquarters.

But when asked Thursday if the tight end’s plans included a final fling with Tampa Bay in 2022, the quarterback conveyed only hope.

“I think it’s just obviously totally up to him,” Brady said after the Bucs wrapped up their three-day mandatory minicamp with a brief indoor workout. “We’d all love to play with him, but he’s got to make the best decision for himself, and he knows that. Anyone who cares about him knows that he’s doing what’s right for him, which is trying to figure it out.”

Brady’s comments came less than three weeks after he and Gronkowski — a pair who own the NFL record for most passing-touchdown connections in the postseason with 15 — were seen hitting and shagging fly balls at the Yankees’ minor-league facility, where Brady has staged private football workouts with veteran players in the past. Brady’s trainer, Alex Guerrero, also was on hand.

Additionally, Gronkowski was captured on video in March inside a West Tampa barbershop saying “there’s a very good chance” in reference to a question about whether he’d play in 2022.

Coach Todd Bowles, asked daily about Gronkowski’s status, repeated Thursday that he had no new information.

“Until he signs or retires, we’re status quo,” he said.

Even after the recent signing of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, the Bucs appear to have more than $10 million in salary-cap space for 2022, according to contract website Gronkowski played on a one-year, $8 million deal last season.

“We don’t have training camp for about six weeks,” Brady said. “So whatever (Gronkowski has) got to do to figure it out … and I think we’ll be hopeful if he does. And if he doesn’t, then we’ve still got to go out there and figure out what to do.”

Contact Joey Knight at Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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