Buccaneers tight end Kyle Rudolph excited for first day of training camp

Kyle Rudolph eager to compete for a Super Bowl championship
July 27th Rudolph.png
July 27th Catch.png
July 27th Brady.png
Posted at 4:06 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 20:39:00-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Once again, Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady showed off his skills as a master recruiter this offseason. He called then-free agent tight end Kyle Rudolph and convinced him the Buccaneers were the right fit. And that was before former Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement.

"Look! We don’t know what Rob’s going to do at this point, but regardless, we need you down here," Rudolph recalled after Wednesday's first day of training camp. "What better opportunity for me at this point of my career."

Rudolph, 32, received interest from other teams, but Tampa Bay checked off all the right boxes- including the opportunity to compete for a Super Bowl title.

"To come down here and not only play with the greatest quarterback of all time, but like I said, play a part of this culture. And be around this winning culture that [head coach Todd Bowles] talks about all the time."

Bucs first-year head coach Todd Bowles knows it's almost impossible to replace a player like Gronkowski, but getting veteran like Rudolph is the next best thing.

"He brings intelligence. He brings toughness. He brings savvy, and he’s played the game for a while," Bowles said after Wednesday's first practice session. "He brings us a veteran presence, understanding the ball game, and he learns fast. He’ll help us on Sundays."

Rudolph played in the postseason four times in ten seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He played on a Giants team that finished 4-13 last year, so he doesn't take playoff opportunities for granted.

"I feel like Tom’s ruined it for everyone in the league," Rudolph joked. "They just assume you’re going to the Super Bowl ten times, or make it to the divisional round with a bye every year. That’s not the case. If you would have asked me in 2017 if [Minnesota would] be back, I would’ve said absolutely. And yet, here I am, five years later, and I haven’t been close since. It makes you take advantage of every year and every opportunity."

Rudolph, a second-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2011, has 479 career receptions and 49 touchdowns.