Tom Brady could snub NFL retirement as Patriots return unlikely

Tom Brady: NFL star 'summons' Rob Gronkowski in 2016

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NFL legend Rob Gronkowski believes Tom Brady will join whichever NFL team “intrigues him most” as he enters free agency for the second time in his illustrious career. Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers crashed out of the NFL playoffs when they were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. 

Gronkowski is currently enjoying his second stint of retirement after he walked away in 2018 before Tom Brady left the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When Brady joined the Bucs in 2020, Gronkowski came out of retirement and signed with the Florida franchise where he spent two seasons – winning Super Bowl LV – before calling it quits.

During his Hall of Fame-calibre career, Gronkowski recorded four Super Bowl victories, four All-Pro nods, and is sixth in all-time receiving yards at tight end (9,286) and third in career touchdowns (92). The former tight end achieved over 1,000 yards receiving in four seasons of his career and played each year of his career with Brady throwing him the ball – which gives him a unique close relationship with the GOAT.

Brady will not rush into making any decisions over his future after perhaps the most challenging and frustrating season of his career. He famously retired last offseason only to reverse his decision 40 days later, and the 45-year-old will surely not make the same mistake again.

Gronkowski admitted he doesn’t know where or what Brady is going to decide to do, although he does believe the iconic quarterback will be back in the NFL. The 33-year-old didn’t suggest a franchise Brady could join but did offer some insight into the selection process.

“Everybody wants to know about Tom Brady’s future,” Gronkowski said. “I don’t even think Tom knows what his future holds right now. 

“But let me tell you this: He was top five in passing yards last season. He can still play the game. And he’s probably getting some treatment on his arm as we speak right now, so he’s gonna be ready to go next year.

“Let me tell you, it’s going to be whatever situation intrigues him the most. Whatever opportunity that makes him the most excited to play the game of football, that’s where he will be next year.”

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This likely means Brady won’t return to the Patriots under legendary head coach Bill Belichick, as the 45-year-old became disillusioned and wanted a new challenge. Franchises like the Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders are perhaps placed on alert. 

Social media went wild recently when it emerged Brady rented an apartment in Miami, sparking rumours he could sign with the Dolphins to potentially replace Tua Tagovailoa after the quarterback struggled with concussions in 2022. However, Brady’s children live in the city with Gisele Bundchen, so it was clearly a move just to be closer to family. 

The San Francisco 49ers could also be in the mix for Brady’s signature this offseason. Brady is a boyhood fan of the 49ers as he hails from the Bay Area, but they could opt to continue rolling with seventh-round rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, who takes on the Cowboys in the Divisional Round of the postseason on Sunday night.

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