Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to join Tom Brady and the Buccaneers this season.
So, after spending a year away from the game, has his first season in Tampa exceeded or matched his expectations?
“It has matched a lot of hopes that I had coming here, big time," Gronkowski said via Zoom Thursday. "It’s just hard to win football games in the NFL. Just week in and week out it’s hard to win games. The main goal obviously is to always make it to the Super Bowl, but it’s hard. It’s one of the hardest things to do out there in the sports world. You have to put work in week in and week out and my expectations just coming in were just to work hard week in and week out and just give the best I could every since week — no matter what I had, just give it my all. If it was good, if it wasn’t good, it was always my all.
"Expectations, really that’s all — is to give it your all. Obviously, you want to win games and the main goal is to win it all, but just to be where we are now is just unbelievable. It’s exceptional. I feel like it’s well-deserved overall as an organization. I mean, everyone has been working hard. Everyone has been putting their time in. But overall, it’s been a great experience. I am not surprised that [we’ve got] this far, but at the same time I know how hard it is to get this far and how much work we’ve had to put in.”
Gronkowski finished the regular season with 45 receptions for 623 yards and seven touchdowns. And with the talent around him on the offense, he hasn't been the vocal point of the opposing defense like he often was in New England.
To that point, the tight end acknowledged this is one of, if not the best, offenses he's ever been apart of.
“Yeah, I would say it definitely ranks up there if it’s not No. 1," he said. "I’ve been around a lot of great talented players, but I would say overall as a group just from position-to-position and how many guys we have at each position I would say that this definitely ranks up there if it’s not No. 1 for talent-wise as a whole.”
The Buccaneers will travel to Green Bay Sunday afternoon for the NFC Championship Game.