Former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski has tackled rumors that his long-time quarterback Tom Brady might leave the Buccaneers after this season and join another team. Rumors were circulating that the 45-year-old Brady might join the Las Vegas Raiders after the team benched its starting quarterback, Derek Carr. There were also reports that Brady might re-join the Patriots, where he played for 20 seasons before signing with the Buccaneers in 2020, or join his hometown squad, the San Francisco 49ers. For Gronkowski, the possibility of Brady returning to the Patriots is far-fetched, saying there are still options for him, including remaining with the Buccaneers, per Mirror.

Wherever Brady lands next season, the retired tight end said the seven-time Super Bowl champion can play at the highest level, saying: "You don't see him falling off at all."

Gronkowski says Brady's passes are still decisive.

Backing up his statement, Gronkowski said Brady's top five in the NFL regarding passing yards. "The zip on his ball is still there. It's still mighty," said Gronkowski, adding he can see Brady playing until he is 50 years old if he wants to. "But I see him playing next year," the tight end added. Gronkowski recently announced his retirement from the NFL, but fans are urging him to return to the Buccaneers to make another Super Bowl run with Brady. In 2020, Gronkowski came out of retirement and joined Brady in Tampa Bay, where they led the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl title since 2008.

Brady recently led the Buccaneers to their third straight playoff appearance following a 30-24 win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 17, where he completed 34 of 45 passes for 432 yards and three touchdowns with an interception and added a quarterback sneak that sealed the victory for Tampa Bay.

Bowles to play starters vs. Falcons

The Buccaneers will take on the Atlanta Falcons in their regular-season finale in a meaningless game as Tampa Bay is assured of a Wild Card home game against a still undetermined opponent. While the game has no bearing, Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles plans to play all his starters against the Falcons, stressing that "we don't need to take our foot off the gas," per Scott Smith of

"No, but we can get better at a lot of things, so right now, I'm planning on playing them," Bowles said. Brady said that he expects to start in Week 18, saying he would be bothered if he doesn't play against the Falcons, per Darren Hartwell of Yahoo Sports. Brady said he hasn't missed a game other than his torn ACL in 2008 and his four-game suspension in 2016.