Rob Gronkowski is ready to make his NFL return, but not with the New England Patriots. The tight end reportedly is hoping to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and play with Tom Brady in the 2020 season.

New England still owns Gronkowski’s rights 13 months after the superstar announced his retirement. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Gronkowski has told the Patriots that he wants to play for the Buccaneers.

The Patriots can release Gronkowski and make him a free agent. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, New England and Tampa Bay have been working on a possible trade. The 2020 NFL Draft starts Thursday night.

Gronkowski has one year and $10 million left on his contract.

Gronkowski recorded 521 catches, 7,861 receiving yards and 79 touchdowns with the Patriots from 2010-2018. The tight end won three Super Bowl titles and was selected to five Pro Bowls. Gronkowski is a four-time First-Team All-Pro.

Brady was Gronkowski’s quarterback in all nine of his NFL seasons. New England was prepared to trade Gronkowski to the Detroit Lions in 2018, but he threatened to retire and nixed the deal.

“Yeah, it happened,” Gronkowski told reporters, per Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal in September 2018, when asked about the rumored trade talks. “Brady’s my quarterback. ... I wasn’t going anywhere without Brady.”

Brady left the Patriots for the Buccaneers as a free agent last month, signing a two-year deal worth at least $50 million.

Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL on Mar. 24, 2019 after nine seasons with the New England Patriots. In this picture, Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrates his team's victory in the Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Feb. 3, 2019. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images