Rob Gronkowski was drafted by AFC side New England Patriots in the 2nd round of the 2010 NFL draft. The tight end featured for 9 seasons before hanging up his boots. However, last month ‘Gronk’ came out of retirement to join Tom Brady at NFC side Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gronk made waves in his first season after becoming the first rookie tight end to register double-digit touchdowns since the AFL-NFL merger. Fans at the Raymond James Stadium will hope his year away from the sport re-ignites a spark that will see him display performance closer to his stellar sophomore year.
In 2011, the THEN 22-year old announced himself to the world. He recorded a season-high 18 touchdowns by a player in his position. In addition to this, he notched up 1,327 receiving yards. This is the highest percentage of receiving yards per game for a tight end in New England Patriots history. The yards record now belongs to San Francisco 49ers George Kittle who received for 1,377 yards in 2018.
The tight end also made a whopping 90 catches in 2011 en route New England Patriots 13-3 season record. He caught 17 more times in the postseason and notched up 3 more touchdowns in the postseason. Unfortunately, he stumbled at the final hurdle as The Patriots went down to New York Giants.
Fans will be quick to say he has always played with a top-quality quarterback. But at times he too has hoodwinked the defense with a deft swerve or a marauding run and pulled off some athletic catches too.
Rob Gronkowski is said to be Tom Brady’s favorite target and the 42-year-old reportedly demanded the team to get him on board. The team gave up a compensatory 4th round pick for the tight end.
The duos move resulted in Tampa Bay Buccaneers getting a league-high 5 primetime games. They are the only team out of the 8 to get as many games before a national audience despite having a losing record last season. It clearly shows how powerful the Brady-Gronkowski combination’s drawing power is.
Can Rob Gronkowski have a season akin to 2011? It will be tough, as Gronk is older and has never matched those numbers. But Buccaneers fans have been starved of success a will surely take anything even remotely close to that.