Rob Gronkowski doesn’t appear to be giving any hint of a possible return just yet.
The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end made an appearance in Las Vegas at JBL Fest 2022 on Tuesday night, the first of three consecutive nights (Sep. 27-29) for the brand festival.
While JBL Fest is about a lot more than just sports — the annual music fest also celebrates music and gaming while featuring live performances from notable music acts — Gronkowski found a little bit of time during the event’s heavy festivities to talk about his future in football and his former team, the Buccaneers.
Despite speculation that he could return for Tom Brady’s potential farewell season, Gronkowski maintains that he’s focusing on business moving forward — not a comeback.
“At this point, I am focused on business and starting a new chapter in my life,” said Gronkowski. “My brothers and I have a lot going on with business opportunities. So it’s onto new challenges.”
The Buccaneers’ offense has struggled drastically in the unit’s first season without the big tight end. Tampa Bay is averaging just 17 points per game, good for 22nd in the league. It’s a far cry from the 2021 squad featuring Gronkowski that averaged 30.1 points per game, ranking second in the NFL.
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A major reason for the offense’s lack of production is the minimal impact from the tight ends without Gronkowski. In the team’s first three games of the season, Buccaneers tight ends have produced a total of nine catches for 96 yards and zero touchdowns.
“They have a good team,” Gronkowski said. “Tom is going to find a way to win no matter who he has out there. He has done it for years.”
Despite Tampa Bay’s slow start, Gronkowski isn’t worried about the Bucs moving forward. In fact, he believes Brady and the Bucs will fix their current struggles and emerge as an even better team by the time the postseason rolls around.
“Whenever Tom is on a team, you have a shot to win the Super Bowl,” Gronkowski continued. “He is relentless. They may not be the favorites, but the goal is just to get through the season and play even better in the playoffs.”
Gronkowski was actually spotted at the team’s recent home season opener versus the Green Bay Packers in Week 3. However, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told Pro Football Talk that the “status quo” remains in place.
“I’m not aware of any change yet,” Rosenhaus told Mike Florio of PFT. “But you know what my thoughts have been about this all along.”
Since Gronkowski’s retirement back in June, Rosenhaus has always left the door open on a possible comeback later on in the season.
Although Gronkowski isn’t revealing any plans of a return, it’s clear that the 33-year-old is staying in good shape. The 6-foot-6 tight end looks extremely slimmed down from his normal 265-pound physique. He recently participated a few weeks ago in a basketball exhibition at the Monster Energy Big3 Celebrity Game.
“I’m always in good shape,” Gronkowski remarked. “It is who I am. I will always take care of my body. I like low impact, high intensity workouts. I use the Inertia Wave band a lot.”
“Gronk” has obviously been having a good time off of the field since his second retirement. He explained why he’s attending JBL Fest, which initially launched in 2017, but hasn’t been held since 2019 due to COVID.
“It isn’t just music, JBL is a brand that expands into all types of areas in culture,” explained Gronkowski. “I love how at JBL FEST there are different personalities and experiences that show that. Along with some crazy concerts, there is a basketball court and video games, so I might have to head over there and show people what’s up at some point.”
The former tight end revealed how he once had a dance-off with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal at the event.
“JBL events are known for creating memorable moments,” said Gronkowski. “The last time I attended one I had a dance-off with Shaq, so once I got the call to attend JBL FEST I had to say yes. JBL is known for embracing self-expression, so I am here to help celebrate the brand and our similar values when it comes to stuff like that.
Another reason why Vegas is notable is because Gronkowski almost played in the city. UFC President Dana White recently revealed that the Las Vegas Raiders considered making a move for both Gronkowski and Brady during the 2020 offseason. However, according to White, then-Raiders head coach Jon Gruden nixed the potential move.
“It would have been great playing in Vegas with Tom. I would have probably gotten into too much trouble though,” quipped Gronkowski. “So we landed in Tampa and the rest is history.”
While football fans will continue to dream of an eventual comeback for the tight end in Tampa Bay, it looks like the fun-natured Gronkowski will continue to enjoy Las Vegas in the meantime.
“There is so much energy in Vegas and so much to do,” said Gronkowski. “Vegas has been the place for years that my family and friends have gone to celebrate. We have had a lot of good times for sure.”