When Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason, he wooed tight end Rob Gronkowski out of retirement to join him.
Jason Licht couldn’t have been happier.
The Buccaneers general manager raved Wednesday about Gronkowski as Tampa Bay continued its preparations for Super Bowl LV.
âMan, if youâre having a bad day, I suggest any of you just go spend a little time with Gronk,” Licht said in a video conference. “He just lifts you up just by being him. Heâs funny. We have conversations every day, and I look forward to it.
“I told my wife, âCanât wait to go talk to Gronk at practice today.â Heâs just being himself. Heâs very authentic. He loves the game, and when itâs time to be serious, he’s very serious.”
Licht has known Gronkowski since the earliest stages of the latter’s NFL career. He was the Patriots’ director of pro personnel when New England drafted the star tight end in 2010.
Even at 31 years old, Gronkowski continues to exude an infectious energy that Licht said has been great for team morale.
“Thereâs a lot of talk of what Tom has done for this locker room, and itâs all warranted,” said Licht, whose team is back in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2002. “But what Gronk has done for this locker room is equally as amazing. Heâs just a great teammate and loves life.”
On the field, Gronkowski no longer is the game-wrecking playmaker he was earlier in his career. But he posted respectable numbers for the Bucs this season, catching 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns while playing in all 16 games.
He’s mostly been used as a blocker in the playoffs, tallying two catches on seven targets for 43 yards in wins over Washington, New Orleans and Green Bay.