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Rob Gronkowski 'shocked' by Tom Brady retirement, excited for possible reunion at FOX Sports

Rob Gronkowski has been the subject of almost continuous rumors regarding a possible return to the NFL, but when asked Tuesday whether that was still an option for him, the former tight end was emphatic in his decision.

"No, no. I'm done, man," Gronkowski said, per The Athletic.

Gronkowski notably returned to football a year after retiring for the first time in 2019, playing two more seasons with his longtime quarterback Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before hanging up the cleats again last offseason.

So with his history of comebacks, many wondered if there was still a chance Gronkowski could return to the NFL as long as his close friend Brady was in the league. Gronk had already unretired once to play with him again, so why not a second time?

But with the announcement last week that Brady was retiring after a 23-year career, Gronk put to bed the rumors of his own playing career continuing one more time.

Concerning his career-long QB, however, Gronkowski was less willing to speak to the permanence of Brady's decision. While he thinks the QB's second retirement is for good, Gronk said he was a bit surprised at the timing since he's always thought Brady could play even longer.

"Tom is not reopening that door. I don't know. Maybe he is. I don't know," Gronkowski said. "I would just say I was shocked because I would say he still has some left in the tank. There's no doubt about that. I felt like Tom could play until 50 years old. ... But he chose to hang it up at 45, and I'm proud of him. I'm proud to be his teammate. I'm proud of everything he has accomplished. I'm just happy for him, whatever he chooses to do next."

This likely doesn't mark the end of seeing the tandem of Gronk and Brady on our screens -- they'll just be in the broadcast booth instead. Brady has a standing 10-year, $375 million contract with FOX Sports to become their lead NFL analyst -- a job he said he'll begin in 2024 after taking a break -- and Gronkowski has been making appearances for the broadcast network over the last few years as well.

Will there be a chance for the pair to show off their legendary chemistry once more, just breaking down pass plays instead of connecting on them?

"That's definitely a possibility for sure, being with Tom for so long and now we're going to be at FOX together," Gronk said. "There really hasn't been any plans or anything or any talks about it, but that definitely could be a possibility. We could banter back and forth in some way, somehow, maybe do a couple promos together or whatever it is. That will be down the road. Time will have to tell with that."

While Gronk's words Tuesday might have put an end to the speculation of an on-field reunion between one of the greatest QB-TE pairings in NFL history, there's still a chance we'll see the duo work together in a different capacity for years to come.

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