TAMPA — Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski have been teammates for 11 seasons. Brady, 44, and Gronkowski, 32, have pretty much seen it all in the NFL. Gronk says he's still amazed the high level of Brady's play.
"He just sees it all on the field. It’s impressive," Gronkowski said after Thursday's season opener. "The guy's been playing for like 80 years. Seen every defense, seen every player."
Brady's entering his 22nd NFL season, and he knows there aren't many players as good as his top tight end.
"He’s just a great player. Just a great attitude, great teammate," Brady said after the Bucs 31-29 win over the Cowboys. "I think everybody in the locker room just loves that guy. Watching him, being with him. On and off the field he’s just an amazing guy. Everyone loves seeing guys like that successful."
Brady and Gronkowski have combined for 86 regular season touchdown receptions, which is good for third-most in history. Number 86 came on Gronk's second touchdown during Thursday's game, but he doesn't want to talk about that specific play call.
"It’s a play we’ve scored a couple [touchdowns] on in our career. No more talking about that play," Gronkowski joked. "I like that play. I don’t like anyone knowing about it."
When he was asked if the play had a name, Gronkowski simply replied "No, it doesn’t," before raising his eyebrows and smiling at reporters.
Gronkowski retired in 2019 because he wanted to give his body a rest. Now he says he had no doubt that he would ever feel good enough to play again.
"When you put your mind to it, even when on crappy days when I’m feeling bad I’m like 'man, I just gotta go back in the garage, fix, you know, bring out the tools and fix myself up.'"
Brady and Gronk need three more regular season touchdown connections to tie Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates for second-most on the all-time list (89). Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison hold the NFL record with 112.
The Buccaneers (1-0) host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, September 19 at 4:05 P.M.