It was all over the news in recent days that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady played almost all of last season with a torn MCL in his left knee. The news proved the toughness and determination of the soon-to-be 44-year-old quarterback, who led the team to its first Super Bowl victory since 2002 via a 31-9 triumph over the then-defending champions Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. In a previous interview, wide receiver Mike Evans said he knew Brady was hurt but he was not fully aware of the extent of the quarterback’s injury. Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis said he didn’t know Brady was injured last season but praised the veteran for his toughness.

On Wednesday, it was Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski’s turn to talk about Brady’s injury. “Tom’s toughness is to another level,” said Gronkowski, adding “Sometimes you know, you don’t even know what he’s dealing with and he’s just dealing with it on his own.” Gronkowski said it only showed another level of Brady’s toughness, saying he just went through it and “not put it on anyone else and just deal with it in your inner circle.”

Gronk lauds Brady’s mental toughness

“It’s just a sign of just mental toughness. Just going out there and just being able to perform at a high level,” the tight end said per the transcript of the YouTube video of his interview posted on the team’s channel. Brady showing his mental toughness came as no surprise for Gronkowski as he has been displaying it throughout his career to get things done.

The injury showed no effect on Brady as he threw a total of 50 touchdown passes and ran for four more touchdowns in the regular season and in the postseason. As of now, Gronkowski said he hasn’t seen the positive effects of the surgery on Brady because he’s just throwing and not doing any running or quarterback sneak during training camp.

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“Hopefully I’ll see him do a little but he just looks like normal Tom out there in the pocket, ball is always accurate, always fierce and ready to roll,” said Gronkowski, who caught 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season and two touchdown passes in Super Bowl LV.

Gronk says Bucs have targets on their back

The Buccaneers will try to become the first team since the 2003-04 New England Patriots to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles. But Gronkowski is fully aware that the task at hand is difficult. "This is a whole new season. We have a target on our back,” said Gronkowski, per Luke Easterling of USA Today. The tight end said the team must leave last year’s success behind and focus on their mission to win a second straight Lombardi Trophy. The Buccaneers defense, for its part, needs to step up and continue its domination to help the team achieve its mission, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com.