"He was all fired up and juiced up about it," Rob Gronkowski said of telling Tom Brady he was ready to return to the NFL

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 23, 2020 01:50 PM

It looks like the jaw-dropping reunion of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have been in the works as far back as February.

During a media call with the Buccaneers on Wednesday, 30-year-old Gronkowski revealed it was during a workout with Brady two months ago that he first hinted he wanted to end his year-long retirement from football — and that he was interested in where Brady would end up.

“We rarely talked about what his decision was gonna be, where I’m at,” the tight end recalled, as noted by ESPN. “But we did talk about [it] for one second. We talked just real quick — like, ‘Hey, you know, I’m kinda getting that fire underneath me again.’ I told him, I said, ‘I’m definitely interested in your decision that you make.’ ”

At the time, speculation was mounting whether Brady would leave the New England Patriots in free agency.

For many fans, Brady leaving the Patriots was unthinkable — the 42-year-old had won six championships with the team over a two-decade span, cementing himself as arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.

While Brady didn’t divulge what his free agency decision would be, things shifted once Gronkowski brought up the possibility of them reuniting.

Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady on their former team
| Credit: Ron Schwane/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“I didn’t put any pressure on him,” Gronkowski recalled. “I said, ‘But if there’s a right opportunity out there, and you go somewhere and that opportunity is right — even if you go back to the Patriots, and I feel like the opportunity is right — there’s a possible chance that I will definitely love to reconnect.’ ”

“And that’s where the conversation started a little bit, and he was all fired up and juiced up about it,” he continued. “So that was something pretty cool at the moment, and in the end, it happened over time, which is pretty neat.”

Brady announced his departure from the Patriots on March 17 before officially signing with Tampa Bay just three days later.

Then, in another stunning move, Gronkowski asked the Patriots for a trade to the Buccaneers on Tuesday after announcing he was coming out of retirement.

“My body started feeling good. My desire to play the game of football was coming back,” Gronkowski said of why it was the right time to make his return. “I knew that by the time the season would be rolling around again, I would want to be back out there.”

RELATED: Tom Brady Announces He’s Leaving the Patriots: ‘It Is Time for Me to Open a New Stage’

“That desire, that passion, has lit into me, and I just felt like, in the last couple weeks, it was the right time to hop on before it was too late,” he continued.

While Gronkowski only has three Super Bowl wins to Brady’s six, he has something Brady doesn’t have — a WWE 24/7 Championship title, which he still holds today. The 24/7 Championship comes with a special rule — the belt has to be defended “24/7,” meaning the champion can lose it anytime or anywhere, as long as a WWE referee is present.

“We need a lot of security,” Gronkowski said of keeping his belt. “We need security everywhere. Every tunnel, every entrance. Everywhere in the stadium, because I’m the 24/7 WWE title belt champion right now, of the world. Everyone is coming for me!”