Rob Gronkowski Talks 12-Year Chemistry with Tom Brady, His Reaction to Quarterback's Retirement

Rob Gronkowski is still undecided about his NFL future despite Tom Brady's recent retirement announcement, he tells PEOPLE

Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady have played on two different teams together in their 12 overlapping years as players in the NFL.

They have "incredible chemistry" working together on the field, connecting on 90 touchdowns in total. Where they differ, though, is that Brady has confirmed his retirement from the league after 22 seasons, while Gronkowski is still mulling s decision to hang up his cleats — this time, for good.

"I was asked that question two days after the [divisional playoffs] game and I said I wouldn't play if the decision was today," Gronkowski tells PEOPLE while discussing his upcoming hosting duties for the NFL Alumni Legends Party with USA Today Network. "And if the decision was again today, it would still be a no."

Tom Brady

Brady threw the ball to his tight end as a New England Patriot for eight seasons and the pair won three Super Bowls during their tenure with the team. Their relationship on the field picked back up in Tampa Bay in 2020 after Brady signed with the team, which prompted Gronkowski to come out of his own retirement. The duo ended up winning their fourth and seventh Super Bowl rings with the Florida franchise last year.

The two have often documented their tight-knit relationship both on and off the field, so it isn't all too surprising that Brady's decision is weighing heavily on Gronkowski.

"We were an incredible team," Gronkowski shares. "We were an incredible combo. We had incredible chemistry over the last 12 years. So with him not playing anymore, it kind of opens up my options because when we were playing together, it just made a lot of sense. We had a great connection, chemistry, everything was there and we wanted to play with each other while he was still playing and while I was still playing."

Had Brady not retired, it would've been a no-brainer for Gronkowski to sign up for another season. "I would say that we would stay together, a hundred percent for sure," he says.

While they did chat before Brady made his announcement, Gronkowski didn't get an advance heads up about the big news.

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski friendship
Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady. Mike Ehrmann/Getty

"We've had conversations about it beforehand and stuff, but not a conversation that in-depth about what he was going to be doing," Gronkowski shares. "I'm just very proud of him and just an honor to be able to play with him while he was still playing. So it's just humbling. He's just a true legend."

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One other influence on his final ultimate personal career decision is his girlfriend of eight years, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Camille Kostek.

"It doesn't really affect her, what I do or not because she's got a lot of things going on herself with her swimsuit line that already came out last year," Gronkowski says of their relationship. "That's just improving even more. She's got a lot going on with Sports Illustrated. So we just talk to keep each other in the loop of what events we got going on, what events we can make of each other's. Sometimes she's got something going on at the same time I do, so we just wish each other the best at the event and then meet up after. We keep each other in the loop. If it's in morning snuggles or if it's nighttime dinner."

Rob Gronkowski and Camille Kostek
Rob Gronkowski and Camille Kostek. Kevin Mazur/Getty

With his party hosting duties coming and friend Flo Rida headlining the music at the NFL Alumni Legends Party, #87 is letting his body recover before making the ultimate choice, which he will most likely do sooner rather than later.

"Right now, I'm just really worried about healing, feeling good, feeling centered and I have been, and it's been good," Gronkowski adds. "But the process of playing football, of knowing what I'm going to do, I probably won't say. It won't pick up until about another month and right now I'm just enjoying my off-season and just doing things I normally wouldn't be doing."

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