Rob Gronkowski, the All Pro tight end who retired in 2018 after winning three Super Bowls as the main target for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, is rejoining his former quarterback in Tampa Bay.
The popular Gronkowski, who retired at age 30, returns to the sport after he had been ramping up a career in Hollywood. He signed on as an NFL analyst for Fox Sports soon after he retired, was just unmasked as White Tiger in the current season of Fox’s The Masked Singer, and is part of CBS’ Game On! remake of James Corden’s UK reality competition series that is due to air this summer. Earlier this month, he even won the WWE’s 24/7 Championship at Wrestlemania 36.
“I’m baack,” Gronkowski told his Fox Sports colleague Jay Glazer today, when the sports world all but shuttered due to the coronavirus shutdown buzzed over the NFL news. “I always said when I have that feeling, and it feels right, I’ll be ready to take the field again. I have the feeling; I’m ready.”
Fox Sports did not comment on Gronkowski’s contract but issued a statement today. “Fox Sports wishes Rob Gronkowski the very best as he returns to play in the NFL,” it said. “Even though we will miss having our teammate, we cannot wait to see what he does on the field with Tom and the rest of the Bucs this season. Gronk will always have a place on our NFL on Fox team.”
Gronkowski, who told Glazer he had already passed his physical (his several injuries during his career included at least two concussions, breaking his arm twice and suffering a herniated disc), was still technically a member of the Patriots, who lost Brady this offseason in one of the biggest free agency moves in NFL history. Brady jumped to the Buccaneers after winning a record six Super Bowls in New England, signing a 2-year, $50 million contract last month.
The Patriots today made the Brady-Gronk reunion official today by trading Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft choice to Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick.
Gronkowski in November was tapped to star in Game On!, a U.S. version of the long-running Sky format A League of Their Own, in which two teams navigate rounds of sporting questions and physical challenges. The teams will be led by Gronkowski and tennis star Venus Williams, with Keegan-Michael Key hosting as Corden did in the UK version.
The UTA-repped Gronkowski previously was a panelist on the MTV clips show MVP, co-hosted Nickelodeon’s clips show Crashletes for two seasons and appeared on several game shows. He also has a couple of film credits including a cameo in the Entourage movie.
The NFL’s season, which is scheduled to begin in September, is currently still on track despite the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL Draft is set to begin Thursday as a socially distanced affair stretching across three days.