Tom Brady has noticed a change in Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski recently started his second season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom he joined immediately after ending his short-lived retirement. Brady has been alongside Gronk every step of the way through his young Bucs tenure, and he’s seen a reemergence of the tight end he knows and loves.
“When I see him play now, the real Rob Gronkowski’s back,” Brady said on a recent episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast, as transcribed by MassLive. “The spirit of him which makes everyone love him as a person as a teammate, as a player, that spirit that he has in his eyes, about his joy of life, his joy of football is back. When I see him play the other night, that?s his most authentic self.”
Brady went on to explain that spirit had diminished toward the end of Gronkowski’s first NFL chapter, all nine seasons of which were spent with the New England Patriots.
“For someone who’s watching him for a long time, he had it, it faded away,” Brady said. “He ended up retiring because he didn?t find the joy that he had. To see him regain it is one of the really great, satisfying things for me in pro sports. I wish the best for him every single day and every single time he performs because the kind of guy he is. If you’re going into battle, you want to go in with Rob Gronkowski on your side.”
Gronkowski hasn’t shied away from things he wasn’t necessarily fond of about the Patriots organization. The future Hall of Famer leading up to Super Bowl LV acknowledged the biggest difference between New England and Tampa Bay was “the freedom of being yourself” in the latter.
In addition to that freedom, some of Gronk’s regained happiness surely stems from playing on arguably the most talented team in football. One that has a real shot at repeating as Super Bowl champions this season.