Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski issued a touching tribute to his long-time quarterback Tom Brady, who announced his retirement after 22 years in the NFL. Gronkowski posted a video montage of his moments with the 44-year-old Brady on the field and he accompanied it with a short message. “Tommy Boy!!! This football journey with you has been nothing short of special,” Gronkowski began. The veteran tight end thanked Brady for his dedication to the game and for putting his team in the best possible position to win every year. “All the records that were broken, the Super Bowls, the memories, and your friendship through the last 12 years,” said Gronkowski.

He also wished Brady the best in his next endeavors, saying “if you commit even just 10% of what you committed to football in whatever you do next, you will be super duper successful.”

Gronkowski said he witnessed greatness for so many years playing alongside Brady and he said: “I got to learn from the best to ever do it. You’re a legend and always will be.” It wasn’t immediately known if Gronkowski will continue playing or hang up his cleats for good. Gronkowski retired several years ago, but he returned and joined Brady in Tampa Bay. The decision paid dividends as Gronkowski won his fourth Super Bowl ring. Gronkowski has never played in the NFL without Brady as his teammate since he entered the league in 2010.

In his career, Gronkowski caught a whopping 90 touchdown passes from Brady.

Bucs weren’t completely shocked by Brady’s retirement

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said the organization wasn’t shocked with Brady’s decision to retire, adding that the team had been preparing for the possibility. According to Licht, Brady called him late Monday night to inform him of his decision to hang up his cleats for good.

Technically, Brady is still under contract with the Buccaneers until next season, but Licht said he has been talking to the quarterback’s agents to discuss his departure. "We're just extremely happy that he chose us," said Licht, referring to Brady’s decision to sign a two-year deal worth $50 million two seasons ago following his departure from the Patriots after a 20-year stint.

"We have a lot of gratitude toward him for what he's done for this organization and for this fanbase," he said.

Bucs to search for new QB

Licht said their primary goal in the offseason is to find a replacement for Brady through free agency. "We'll have to go down every avenue," said Licht, who said that the team is encouraged by the development of rookie quarterback Kyle Trask. Trask was inactive for every game this season as he learned the ropes from Brady and backups Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin. Licht is not also discounting the possibility of a trade.