April 22 (UPI) — Tom Brady made it known that he wanted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to trade for Rob Gronkowski before the NFC South team acquired the star tight end.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians told CBS Sports Wednesday that it was the star quarterback’s idea to trade for Gronkowski, and Brady “kept pushing” his new team to make the move.
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht called the New England Patriots on Tuesday to facilitate a trade for Brady’s former teammate.
Brady posted a video on social media Wednesday to celebrate the decision. He included a video reference to the movie Anchorman, which involved a conch shell call to Gronkowski. The reused clip from a 2016 video included a cameo from the future Hall of Fame tight end after he answered Brady’s call.
“Time to run it back,” Brady said, with Gronkowski’s social media handle included in the post.
Also, Buccaneers tight end Jordan Leggett had his jersey number changed from No. 87 to No. 81 so Gronkowski could wear his former number in Tampa Bay.
Gronkowski brings another talented pass catcher to the Buccaneers. Brady’s new cast of receivers also include Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.
“[Gronkowski] tells me he feels fantastic, the best he’s ever felt,” Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN Tuesday. “His weight is back up to 260. He passed his physical with flying colors [Tuesday].
“He’s just really excited about playing football again, and being in Florida is exciting for him.”
Gronkowski and Brady were teammates for nine seasons while with the Patriots before Gronkowski took a break from football after the 2018-2019 season. They had teamed up to win three Super Bowls.
Gronkowski — a five-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro — worked as a wrestler for the WWE before he agreed to return to the NFL.
“Congratulations to Rob Gronkowski, the current WWE 24/7 [wrestling tournament] champion, on his return to football,” the WWE said Tuesday.
As 24/7 champion, competitors can challenge Gronkowski at any time to steal the title. The WWE joked that Gronkowski even could be challenged next season during a touchdown celebration.
Previous 24/7 bouts have occurred on an airplane and golf course. A WWE referee has to be present to confirm a victory and make a three-count to end the fight.
“Anytime, anywhere,” the WWE said in its congratulatory note.
Gronkowski, 30, has one year left on his NFL contract. The Buccaneers sent the Patriots a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft in exchange for Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick.
“Rob Gronkowski is one of the best tight ends in NFL history and he plays the game with the type of passion and desire that sets him apart,” Licht said in a news release. “Rob has played his entire career alongside Tom Brady and their accomplishments speak for themselves.
“Together they have developed the type of chemistry on and off the field that is crucial to success. Rob combines elite-level skills as both a receiver and blocker but what really makes him special is the fact that he’s a proven winner who brings that championship mindset and work ethic.”
Gronkowski has the 28th-most touchdown receptions in NFL history.