Rob Gronkowski has a lot of respect for Tom Brady. He's also not afraid to bust the former New England Patriots quarterback's chops.

During an appearance Thursday night on "The Late Late Show with James Corden," the new Buccaneers tight end was asked to describe how Brady convinced him to come out of retirement and play for Tampa Bay.

As Gronkowski tells it, he had a little fun at his QB's expense before giving him the good news.

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"I was like, 'Oh man, Tom, I've been thinking about football a little bit' -- I'm just teasing with him," Gronkowski said. "And he's like, 'Oh.' I could just tell, he's getting all this excitement. And then I'm like, 'Oh my mom lives down there (in Tampa) too, like an hour away, it'd be great to have a new opportunity.'

"And then all of a sudden he just screams on the phone, 'ROB, I JUST WANT YOU TO COME BACK AND PLAY WITH ME!' And I was like, 'Oh all right, I'll come back then, Tom. No problem.'

Gronk added that Brady was "crying" and telling him, "Oh my God, please come back!"

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Is this exactly how their phone call went down? Maybe, maybe not.

Will we assume for comedy's sake that Brady was sobbing and pleading with Gronk to come back? Absolutely.


Gronkowski may have embellished the details, but his story checks out: Bucs head coach Bruce Arians admitted Brady was "adamant" about Gronk joining the Bucs and aggressively pitched the team on the idea not long after he signed with Tampa Bay in free agency.

It took about a month for the deal to come together -- Brady signed with the Bucs on March 20, and the Patriots traded Gronkowski to Tampa on April 21 -- but the 42-year-old is reunited with his trusty sidekick after a year apart.

Maybe that year was longer for Brady than we realized.