Rob Gronkowski spent the first nine seasons of his NFL career with the New England Patriots, so an adjustment period with his new team is to be expected.
But the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end has more than just a new playbook to adjust to down in Florida.
Gronkowski is working on getting back into playing shape after sitting out the entire 2019 season. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was asked about Gronk's progress on Monday, and he gave a brutally honest assessment of how the 31-year-old is handling training camp in Tampa so far.
“He’s probably in New England shape right now, but he’s not in Florida shape," Arians told reporters. "The heat is kicking his [butt] pretty good. It’s different, man. When you train in New England and then come down here, it’s really different. We laughed about it out there today – I don’t think he’s ever sweat that much in his life.
"It takes a little time to get into the Florida shape, but as far as playing in a game, he’s more than ready right now.”
That shouldn't come as a major surprise. As hot as it can get in New England during the summer, it pales in comparison to the heat and humidity in Florida. It would take any player time to get acclimated to Tampa Bay weather, so it shouldn't be an indictment of Gronkowski.
Plus, Gronk dealt with the scorching Arizona heat during his two college seasons, so the adjustment likely won't take too long for the five-time Pro Bowler.
It'll be Gronk, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate battling in camp for the top spot on the tight end depth chart. However, Arians has said he'll use "12 personnel" as his base offense, meaning two TEs will be on the field for most of the snaps.
Tampa Bay begins its season Sept. 13 vs. the New Orleans Saints.