Tight end Rob Gronkowski expected his long-time teammate, quarterback Tom Brady, to return to the football field, but not this quickly. During an interview with TMZ Sports, Gronkowski said he expects Brady to return to the NFL after one year in retirement, and not after a 41-day retirement. “I knew he was going to come back, but I didn’t think he was going to come back this year, to tell you the truth,” said Gronkowski, who was expecting Brady to spend a whole year with his family before making his decision to return. “I just didn’t think it was going to be that soon.

But glad to see him back,” he added. Gronkowski, who retired for one season after a 9-year stint with the New England Patriots. When Brady signed a two-year deal worth $50 million two seasons ago with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gronkowski joined him in Tampa on a one-year deal.

In their first year in Tampa, Brady and Gronkowski helped the Buccaneers win their first Super Bowl title since 2002 after beating the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV. It was Brady’s seventh Super Bowl ring and Gronkowski’s fourth after winning three with the Patriots. For Gronkowski, the 44-year-old Brady is not yet done, saying he looks like a 23-year-old quarterback while throwing the football.

Gronkowski unsure about return

Gronkowski is currently a free agent, but he remains unsure if he would play this season. Per ESPN, Gronkowski said he’s not ready to commit to the game of football right now, adding that he’s not ready to get back on the field. Last season, the 32-year-old tight end finished with 55 catches for 802 yards and six touchdowns despite missing five games due to various injuries.

Gronkowski also said that he’s trying to avoid catching passes as it would convince him to return to the football field. The tight end said he’s taking his time to decide because he wants to be fully dedicated when he signs a deal. “I'm not ready to do that yet, I'm not going to sign a contract if I'm not fully ready,” said Gronkowski, who was recently spotted with former Patriots teammate, wide receiver Julian Edelman, at a charity event in Tampa.

The reunion fueled speculations that Brady, Edelman and Gronkowski would join forces for one season in Tampa. Earlier, it was reported by the New York Post that the Buffalo Bills are interested in signing Gronkowski. The report said the Bills spoke with Gronkowski last season before the tight end decided to stick with the Buccaneers on a one-year deal. The Bills have a star quarterback in Josh Allen but they are still thin at tight end. Gronkowski, who was born in Western New York, was a Bills fan growing up.