Rappers love to retire.
When sales get slow or interest isn’t quite what it used to be, it’s a great way to remind their fanbase that they could be off doing other shit—like pretending they don’t miss rapping. But when athletes retire, we typically don’t expect a curtain call. When it’s over, it’s over. Either their body can’t hold up to the rigors of the sport anymore or mentally they’ve checked out and lost their edge.
To the surprise of many, future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski bowed out of professional football at only 29 years old after the NFL’s 2018 season. And after a down year in which age and attrition had stripped him of most of his superpowers, his decision still came as a surprise, considering his relative youth and tremendous success on the field.
“You take hits to the thigh. You take hits to the head. Abusing your body isn’t what your brain wants,” he told Michael Giardi of the NFL Network last year while reflecting on his 2018 season. “When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You gotta be able to deal with that. I just took 50 collisions and the next day everyone wants you to be up. They want practice to be full speed. The next week, they want the game to be full speed but they don’t understand what players are going thru with their bodies or their minds.”
Football is an incredibly violent sport, so after abandoning the NFL with his mind and body still intact, he spent his time since breaking beer cans on his head, dipping his toes in the cannabis industry and fulfilling every meathead’s dream by pretending to beat people’s asses at Wrestlemania.
Then completely out the damn blue, this happened on Tuesday:
How in the hell did this even—
“Shortly after Tom Brady [signed with] Tampa, Rob and I had a conversation that this is a situation that would be appealing to him,” Gronk’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN. “Obviously, this was a deal that New England had to feel good about, Tampa had to feel good about. This wasn’t just about Rob. All the parties involved had to be in agreement.”
Wait, so this is really—
“He tells me he feels fantastic, the best he’s ever felt,” Rosenhaus said. “His weight’s back up to 260. He passed his physical with flying colors today. He’s just really excited about playing football again, and being in Florida is exciting for him.”
Oh hell nah.
You might recall that Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback in the history of professional sports, filed for divorce from the New England Patriots in March in order to jumpstart the new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers—but adding Gronk to the equation is some Grade-A bullshit.
Since dropping Jameis Winston off at the orphanage, the Bucs have completely overhauled their offense, adding Gronk to an already impressive stable of tight ends (O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate) and Pro Bowl receivers (Chris Godwin, Mike Evans). And while Gronk might not be the Thanos-esque world breaker he used to be, he’s still an all-time talent who’ll happily bust your ass in the endzone.
It also appears that he was cool on playing under Bill Belicheat.
The thought of Tom Brady winning another damn Super Bowl this upcoming season makes me break out in hives, but at 43 years old, how much more does he have in the tank?
If anything, this might end up being a prime opportunity for former NFL MVP Cam Newton to swoop in and give the entire league the middle finger for not scooping him up this offseason.