Rob Gronkowski has finally answered the looming question about his status for the 2022 NFL season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end has announced his retirement, though not everyone is convinced that the 33-year-old is done playing pro football for good.

Gronkowski had been a free agent after spending the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, Gronkowski retired for the first time after winning the 2019 Super Bowl with the New England Patriots.

His first retirement lasted 13 months. Gronkowski signed with the Buccaneers for the 2020 season, following Tom Brady’s decision to leave New England for Tampa Bay. The pair won a Super Bowl in their first season with the Bucs.

“I want to thank the whole entire first class Buccaneers organization for an amazing ride, trusting me to come back to play and help build a championship team,” Gronkowski said as part of a social media post. “I will now be going back into my retirement home, walking away from football again with my head held high knowing I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field. The friendships and relationships I have made will last forever, and I appreciate every single one of my teammates and coaches for giving everything they had as well. From retirement, back to football and winning another championship and now back to chilling out, thank you to all.”

Gronkowski was limited to 12 games in the 2021 season because of a rib injury. He was still one of the NFL’s most productive tight ends, averaging 66.8 yards per game with six touchdowns.

Drew Rosenhaus, Gronkowski’s agent, hasn’t ruled out Gronkowski potentially playing in the upcoming season.

“It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call,” Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “This is just my opinion but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”

Brady said he was done playing in the NFL before announcing he would be back with Tampa Bay 40 days later. The Buccaneers are the NFC favorites ahead of the 2022 season.

Gronkowski won four Super Bowl rings and was selected to the Pro Bowl five times.

Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski attends the 11th Annual NFL Honors at YouTube Theater on February 10, 2022 in Inglewood, California. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic