The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still wrapping their collective heads around future hall of fame tight end Rob Gronkowski's decision to retire for the second time in his career. While Gronkowski flirted with the idea throughout the offseason, no one really believed he was going to step away from the game after his longtime friend, Tom Brady, came out of retirement for another run with the Buccaneers.
Now the question shifts to whether Gronk can actually stay away from a football field this fall or will he unretire for the second time in his career? His announcement a few weeks ago felt genuine at the time but you can never be too sure in this day and age of the sport.
Glancing over at Vegas, it's clear that the oddsmakers are leaving some leeway on this one. According to OddsChecker, Gronkowski currently sits with +135 odds to unretire and return to the NFL in 2022. That means there is an implied 43.5% chance that he'll play football this fall. On the other side, OddsChecker provides -175 odds or a 56.5% chance that Gronkowski will stay retired for good.
Who knows what Gronkowski will truly do. There will be natural pressure to reverse course and we'll see where this thing ends up. Over the last few months, Gronk has remained in shape while taking in workouts with Tom Brady and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry.
During the same period, he has professed that he doesn't believe it would take a lot of him to return to game shape. Theoretically, Gronkowski could sit out of training camp before emerging from the tunnel this fall.
Regardless of the hypotheticals, there is one thing that is certain. Tampa Bay has a hole at tight end with training camp just a few weeks away. Veteran Cam Brate is the lone player at the position under contract that has made significant contributions at the NFL level. Rookies Cade Otton and Ko Kieft have an opportunity to play major roles earlier than expected in their respective careers.
The Buccaneers are expected to explore free agency and the trade market as well. Veterans such as Kyle Rudolph and Eric Ebron are still free agents while Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz may be available for the right price.
Stick with BucsGameday for more coverage on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the offseason.