Patriots

Patriots

Long before Rob Gronkowski was in Florida winning WWE titles in front of no fans and playing it coy on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" this week, his mind was already made up.

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He was coming back to the NFL to join Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

That's what his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN on Tuesday.

“Shortly after Tom Brady went to Tampa, Rob and I had a conversation that this would be a situation that would be appealing to him," Rosenhaus said. "Obviously, this was a deal that New England had to feel good about and Tampa had to feel good about. This wasn’t just about Rob. All the parties involved had to be in agreement.”

Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick were traded by the Patriots to the Bucs on Tuesday in exchange for a fourth-round pick. It was reported earlier Tuesday that Tom Brady played a "large role" in Gronk's move to Tampa Bay.

Rosenhaus said the way Gronkowski made the move was with the Patriots salary-cap situation in mind. 

 

“Rob is a very classy guy in the way he handled this,” Rosenhaus said on ESPN's "SportsCenter." “Rob could have come out of retirement and become reinstated and put the Patriots in a tough situation cap-wise, but he decided not to do that. He decided to be patient and really allow this to work out.  He loves New England; he loves the Patriots organization, Coach [Bill] Belichick, the Krafts, his teammates that are still there. He had an amazing run in New England. It was just time for him to continue his career with Tom Brady in Florida with Tampa. It was something cool and exciting and challenging for him. He’s well-rested and looking forward to playing with Tom.”

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Gronkowski told FOXSports Jay Glazer the feeling was right for a return and apparently he's had that feeling for the past month - Brady agreed to join the Bucs on March 17 - even while continuing to dabble in his wrestling career. 

Gronkowski, who turns 31 in May, was nearly traded before the 2018 season to the Detroit Lions but he nixed that deal by threatening to retire, saying when the rumored trade was revealed. "Yeah," Gronkowski said, "It happened. Brady's my quarterback. I'm not going anywhere without Brady." That deal reportedly would've sent Gronk and a second-round pick (No. 43 overall) to Detroit for a first-rounder (No. 20) and a second-rounder (No. 51). 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the NFL Draft. This Wednesday at 5 p.m., stream the NBC Sports On the Clock: NFL Mock Draft special on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBoston.com.