Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Rob Gronkowski expects to hit the ground running after his year out from the NFL.

Gronkowski came out of retirement to join former New England Patriots team-mate Tom Brady at the Buccaneers.

The 31-year-old tight end quit after winning the Super Bowl for a third time with the Patriots in 2018, but Gronkowski finds himself back in the league via Tampa Bay.

As he prepares for his comeback this month, five-time Pro Bowler Gronkowski told reporters on Tuesday: "It's going to probably be different, obviously, because there's going to be no fans and it's going to be my first game ever coming out of a year of not playing.

"But, I've been playing for nine years. I played in the NFL for nine years – it's just like practice. It just came back like that. I'm hoping that's how it is for the game.

"I'm going to prepare to the best that I can and hopefully right when I get out there it's just like any other game. Game on, baby – from the first play on."

The Buccaneers open their season against the New Orleans Saints on September 13.

Gronkowski added: "What I want to accomplish until the game is gaining the trust of my team-mates, gaining the respect of my team-mates, so when I go out there on the field, the guy next to me trusts me and I can go out there on the field and trust the guy next to me, too.

"That's what it's all about in practice – gaining the trust of each other so when you go out there, you can perform as a team, perform as a player and do what I need to do.

"Go out there and do my job at a fast pace without thinking and just play the game of football without thinking about it. That's what it's all about – that's what you need to accomplish in practice."

"That first snap is not going to be for, what, another 12 days, is it?" he said. "So [I'm] just preparing to the best that I can so when that first snap does hit I'm ready to go. I'm prepared, I'm not thinking.

"Hopefully it's just filled with joy, man. That's what I'm going for. Just go out there and be filled with joy and just be filled with adrenaline. That's all you can ask for. Joy and adrenaline – that's a great combo right there."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate admitted it is somewhat surreal to be teaching Tom Brady about his new team's offense.

Having won six Super Bowl rings during a glorious 20-year run with the New England Patriots, there are few, if any, quarterbacks who can match Brady's level of experience.

However, after leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers earlier in the offseason, Brady has a new system to learn and different team-mates to develop chemistry with.

Earlier this week he was practicing with some of those team-mates at a school in Tampa Bay, with Brate revealing there was something of a role reversal as Brady tries to get up to speed.

"He seemed like a really down-to-earth, great team-mate," Brate told SiriusXM.

"It's a little weird now working with him now at the beginning of his Bucs tenure because we're kind of teaching him our verbiage and it's kind of a backward way of how it's probably going to progress during the season, with him teaching us a lot about the game and how he sees things.

"Right now it's only a couple of weeks at the Bucs [for Brady] and he's trying to work out what we call stuff so we're teaching him the offense, which is a little weird."

There is at least one familiar face for Brady after ex-Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was lured out of retirement and traded to the Bucs.

Gronkowski, considered by many to be the best tight end to ever play the game, was part of three Super Bowl-winning teams in New England, where he caught 79 regular-season touchdowns and amassed 7,861 receiving yards across nine seasons.

"It seems like what you see is what you get with him," Brate added of the larger-than-life Gronkowski.

"He seems like the Gronk you see in the media… that's just who Gronk is, which is great.

"I love to have a good time and joke around and I think we're going to get on really well.

"We're super-talented in the tight-end room and I'm just really excited with our group there."

Rob Gronkowski has insisted he was just "joking around" when he claimed to have had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' playbook for weeks before signing.

Referring to Joe Burrow studying the Cincinnati Bengals' playbook in advance of the NFL Draft, Gronkowski said at a media event on Saturday he had been in possession of the Bucs' for four weeks.

That prompted speculation over whether there had been a rules breach given the tight end was under contract with the New England Patriots prior to his April 21 trade.

However, Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to reunite with quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa, has stressed his remarks were light-hearted, writing on Twitter: "This is seriously a story? 

"Lol! I was just joking around with Sage [Steele] as I was pretty much the whole time that time when I was co-hosting the show. Wowsers, my co-hosting skills on point!! Lol!!"

Gronkowski claimed he had only just received his Bucs playbook and had not opened it yet, before joking about the level of detail he can comprehend.

The three-time Super Bowl champion added: "I actually just received my team-issued Surface today from the Bucs and it's still in the package. 

"Hoping it is all pictures and drawings. I'm pumped to open it one day hopefully soon and follow the arrows to learn where to run too. Gronk run Gronk catch ball. No playbook needed. Hehe."

His clarification came after Brady was not handed a fine from the NFL for his bungled visit to the Buccaneers offensive coordinator's house last week. 

The NFL opened an investigation into Brady visiting Byron Leftwich to pick up the team's playbook and determined that the new Bucs quarterback did not violate any offseason work rules. 

Brady's visit had made headlines because he inadvertently walked into the house of a neighbour, mistakenly thinking it was Leftwich's address.

That case of accidental trespassing occurred shortly after Brady was kicked out of a public park that had been closed as part of the state of Florida's stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a video posted by the Buccaneers at the weekend, Brady made light of the incident, which had prompted an entertaining letter from mayor Jane Castor.

Tampa mayor Jane Castor issued a light-hearted apology to Tom Brady as she welcomed the superstar quarterback and Rob Gronkowski to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady, who swapped the New England Patriots for the Buccaneers via NFL free agency, was ejected from a Tampa park amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The six-time Super Bowl champion was spotted working out on Monday and Castor tried to make amends in a letter to Brady and Gronkowski after the former Patriots team-mates reunited in Tampa.

"Dear Tom and Gronk, I want to personally welcome you both to Tampa! We are all very excited to have you here in our beautiful city," Castor wrote in a letter posted via social media.

"You will quickly find that Tampa has a lot to offer. For starters, you can leave your winter clothes behind, all you need here are shorts and sunscreen. A popular misconception is that there are no seasons here in the Sunshine State, however, you will find that we have endless summers, three or four cold days in winter, and of course allergy season.

"Tom, my apologies for the miscommunication when you arrived -- not the best first impression. But given my law enforcement background, I couldn't help but have someone investigate the sighting of a G.O.A.T running wild in one of our beautiful city parks. No harm - no foul, and thanks for being a good sport.

She continued: "There are so many wonderful activities for your family to enjoy, including Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, Zoo Tampa, musuems, and world class beaches, just to name a few. We also have parades for just about every occasion, but our signature event is the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion and Parade [falls into to the 'have to see it to believe it' category]. This third largest parade in the nation is always big fun, s you must be ready to pARRRGHTy… but not too hard [I'm talking to you Gronk], as Super Bowl LV is the following weekend and we need to keep an eye on the prize – a dent free Lombardi trophy!

"There is plenty for you to do as well Gronk. Although we have to socially distance right now, in no time you will be able to enjoy our nightlife and eclectic neighbourhoods. Places like SoHo, Armature Works, Sparkman Wharf and Ybor City, which is home to the Cuban Sandwich, the cigar industry and wild chickens [seriously]. Just remember 'No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service' is still in affect around here.

"We are so glad to have you here. While most people retire and come to Florida, you came out of retirement to head our way. That shows the competitive mindset we are used to, while sticking to the AARP at the same time. Looking forward to growing use to the Gronk Spike! So let's get serious now, how can we help you win the Lombardi trophy in Super Bowl LV? It is our aim to be the first team to win a Super Bowl in our own backyard. We dream big and set the bar high around here, most important, we get things done.

"Thanks against for choosing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and, in tour, our beloved city. This is a very exciting time and we look forward to welcoming you with [virtual] open arms. A proper Tampa Bay welcome will have to wait for a while. Tampa is the greatest city in the nation and it is my sincere hope that you will both be proud to call it home."

Rob Gronkowski says his "fire is back" and he is "ready to lay a smack" after coming out of retirement to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gronkowski will be reunited with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay after he was traded from the New England Patriots this week.

The 30-year-old tight end quit after winning the Super Bowl for a third time with the Patriots in 2018 but has his hunger back after taking a year off.

He posted on Instagram: "First and foremost, I want to thank the Patriots Organisation for everything over the last 10 years.

"Without Mr. Kraft [Robert, the Patriots owner] and Coach [Bill] Belichick taking a chance on me in the 2010 draft, I wouldn't be sitting here in this position in life, THANK YOU both as well [as] my former team-mates for everything over the years.

"New England Patriot Fans, you guys have been nothing but amazing. I love you guys and appreciate your constant support for me big time over the last 10 years [even during retirement]. THANK YOU all so much, the memories are incredible #PatsNation.

"I am beyond excited for this new chapter in my life. It's an opportunity I will certainly not take for granted. I said it from the beginning that I wouldn't come back to the game unless I'm feeling it, feeling healthy, and feeling ready to play.

"Taking a year off was hands down the best decision I made, not just in my career, but also for my health and wellbeing, and I would do that all over again.

"And now my fire is back. I am grateful for this new chapter of my career. I'm pumped to get down to Tampa, meet my new team-mates, work hard, have a blast doing it, and give it my all this season!! I'm back and ready to lay a smack!"

When Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just over a month ago, Rob Gronkowski got a little taste of what life would be like if he joined him. 

“Tom is like the appetiser of the whole meal,” Gronkowski said during his introductory press conference with the Bucs on Wednesday. “He got me hooked when he went down to Tampa, and I saw what was down there.” 

Gronkowski, 30, and Brady, 42, developed quite a relationship during their nine seasons together with the New England Patriots.

They won three Super Bowls together and Brady threw 90 touchdown passes to Gronkowski - tied for the most among QB-TE duos, alongside Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates. 

Spending all that time together during training camps and running all those routes together on gamedays helped motivate Gronkowski to ask for a trade from the Patriots to reunite with Brady in Tampa. 

“Playing with Tom is special, he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and building a connection with a quarterback is something special,” he said. “You see it many times with many other players, you see them switch teams and they might not have the same chemistry that they had with one of their other quarterbacks.

"We have great chemistry and every time we get together it's like the old days, it doesn’t matter if we take a month off or six months apart, we just go out there and throw the ball just like it’s a normal practice.” 

Gronkowski and Brady got together about two months ago to throw the football while Brady's future with the Patriots was uncertain. That game of catch helped lay the foundation for what would be Gronkowski's decision to follow his former quarterback to Florida. 

“It's kinda getting that fire underneath me again, I told him," Gronkowski said. “I said I'm definitely interested in the (free agent) decision that you make.

"And if there's a right opportunity out there and you go somewhere and the opportunity is right, even if you go back to the Patriots and I feel like the opportunity is right, there's a possible chance that I would definitely love to reconnect and that’s where the conversation started a little bit and he was all fired up and juiced up about it."

Back injuries had forced Gronkowski into retirement after helping the Patriots to a Super Bowl victory following the 2018 season, but a season off has helped his banged-up body heal. 

“My body 100 per cent needed a rest,” he said. “I played football for 15 years straight college, high school, NFL and I was taking hits surgeries and my body 100 per cent needed a rest and I didn’t have that fire underneath me but I’ve always loved the game of football."

A change of scenery could also be just what Gronkowski needed to return to the NFL. 

While he enjoyed a Hall of Fame-worthy career with the Patriots and praised Bill Belichick as being "hands-down the best coach in all of football", Gronkowski admitted playing in New England could be demanding. 

"The New England Patriots, hands-down it is not the easiest place to play," he said. “But it gets you right, it gets you mentally right, it gets you physically right. And what I've learned there I'm definitely going to take it with me."

Rob Gronkowski is back in the NFL after just one season away from the game.

Gronkowski will make his return with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being traded from the New England Patriots, reuniting with quarterback Tom Brady in Florida.

Brady won three of his six Super Bowl rings with Gronkowski as a pivotal part of the Patriots' passing game.

However, with Brady set to be 43 by the time the 2020 season starts and Gronkowski, who will need to regain weight dropped post-retirement, having a chequered injury history, could the Bucs' decision to send a fourth-round pick to New England for the 30-year-old prove a misstep?

Here we provide some historical context, by looking at how things went for five other NFL stars who chose to reverse their retirement.

Randall Cunningham

A dynamic dual-threat quarterback, Cunningham was a three-time Pro Bowler in his spell with the Philadelphia Eagles, which lasted 11 seasons and saw him turn them from also-rans into perennial playoff contenders.

However, injuries blighted the final years of his time in Philadelphia and he retired following the 1995 season, unsatisfied at his demotion to backup.

His exile lasted just one season, as he received a phone call from then-Minnesota Vikings head coach Dennis Green and was convinced to come back to the sport.

After a Divisional Round playoff defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in the 1997 season, Cunningham enjoyed what many consider his finest season. He led the NFL in passer rating and guided the Vikings to a 15-1 record, only for them to suffer a heart-breaking NFC Championship game defeat to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime.

He was released by the Vikings in 2000 and ended his career with stints as a backup for the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.

Brett Favre

Another quarterback who enjoyed success in Minnesota after going back on retirement, Favre's U-turn looked to be a mistake after an acrimonious split from the Green Bay Packers was followed by a 2008 season with the New York Jets that ended with four defeats in the final five games to see them miss the playoffs.

Favre had played through a torn biceps tendon in his shoulder during that disappointing run and again announced his retirement, only to go back on it once more to sign with the Vikings in 2009.

That decision turned him from hero to villain in Green Bay, but Favre thrived for the Packers' hated NFC North rivals and took them within a game of the Super Bowl in his first year.

Minnesota lost another overtime heartbreaker in a thrilling NFC Championship game with the New Orleans Saints despite an inspirational performance from Favre.

He returned for the 2010 campaign but finally called it a career after a disappointing 6-10 season.

Jason Witten

Following his initial retirement in 2018, Witten spent a season in the broadcast booth with ESPN in which he received mixed reviews.

Eager to get back on the field, Witten returned to the Cowboys last season, but the tight end looked a long way from the kind of form that has seen him earn 11 Pro Bowl berths.

Still, a 63-catch season in which he racked up 529 yards and scored four touchdowns was enough to convince the Las Vegas Raiders to sign him.

The Raiders have a dynamic tight end in Darren Waller, and head coach Jon Gruden will look for Witten to serve as a complementary piece who can offer guidance to the young star.

Marshawn Lynch

'Beast Mode' caused a stir by effectively announcing his first retirement during Super Bowl 50, posting a picture of cleats hung on a telephone wire to his Twitter account as the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers did battle.

After a year away, the running back returned to fulfil his desire to play for his hometown Raiders during their final few years in Oakland.

Despite a 6-10 season in 2017, an 891-yard campaign indicated there was still something left in the tank, but Lynch played only six games in 2018.

That looked to be the end of a storied career but, with the Seattle Seahawks decimated by injuries at running back ahead of a crucial Week 17 clash with the 49ers last season, Lynch put the cleats back on again to help his former team.

Lynch went over for a short-yardage touchdown in an engrossing encounter, but it was the 49ers who triumphed in a winner-take-all clash for the NFC West title.

A further three touchdowns followed in the Seahawks' subsequent two playoff games, but Lynch could not even reach two yards a carry. It would be a great surprise if his role in the 2019 postseason was not his last act.

Randy Moss

One of the greatest wide receivers of all time, Moss retired after the 2010 campaign but returned for a run at a Super Bowl title with the 49ers after a year away.

His first touchdown as a 49er, caught in a Week 1 win over the Packers, took him to second on the all-time receiving scores list.

There were flashes of the old brilliance, but Moss was a tertiary contributor to the 49ers' aerial attack.

The Niners made it to Super Bowl XLVII, where Moss had two catches for 41 yards, yet the game ended in agonising defeat as San Francisco lost a classic 34-31 to the Ravens in what proved the Hall of Famer's final NFL appearance.

WWE joked about Rob Gronkowski's NFL return, telling the 24/7 Championship holder he still had to defend his title "anytime, anywhere".

Gronkowski, 30, claimed the title at WrestleMania 36 earlier this month, having initially retired from the NFL in March last year.

However, his NFL return was confirmed on Tuesday as he was traded by the New England Patriots to reunite with Tom Brady at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But WWE jokingly said Gronkowski needed to defend his title – even if it meant it was while he was celebrating with Brady.

"Congratulations to @RobGronkowski, the current WWE 24/7 Champion, on his return to football," it wrote on Twitter.

"Per the rules of the 24/7 Title, Gronk must defend his championship at all times in any location.

"He could be celebrating a touchdown pass from @TomBrady... anytime, anywhere."

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are reuniting at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gronkowski, 30, is coming out of retirement and his trade from the New England Patriots to the Buccaneers was confirmed on Tuesday.

The tight end formed an incredible combination with Brady during their time with the Patriots, where they won three Super Bowls together.

With the help of Stats Perform data, we look at some of the statistics to assess the star duo.

No topping Brady and Gronkowski in playoffs

Brady threw 90 TD passes to Gronkowski while they were together at New England. That ranks equal third all-time and is tied for the most among QB-TE duos, alongside Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates.

When it came to the postseason alone, though, there is no topping Brady and Gronkowski. Brady's 12 TD passes to Gronkowski in the playoffs is the equal most all-time alongside Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.

 

A closer look at their combination

Brady's career completion rate in the regular season is 63.8 per cent, but sits at 65.7 to Gronkowski. In the postseason, Brady has a 63 per cent completion rate and 62.3 to the tight end.

Of his 74,571 regular-season passing yards, 7,786 have gone to Gronkowski. The numbers are similar in the postseason with 1,163 of 11,388 yards going to Gronkowski.

Brady has thrown 541 touchdowns in the regular season, with 78 – more than 14 per cent – to Gronkowski. That rises to more than 16 per cent in the playoffs with 12 of 73 TDs.

Rob Gronkowski has been traded from the New England Patriots to reunite with Tom Brady at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The development was confirmed by the Buccaneers in a statement on Tuesday.

The Patriots are sending Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-round selection.

"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," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said.

"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 retired after helping the Patriots win the Super Bowl following the 2018 season, but had said he could return to football at some point. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the 30-year-old had revealed he was "not totally done" with the NFL as rumours over his return continued to gain momentum.

And future Hall of Fame quarterback Brady will now have a familiar target when he takes the field for the Buccaneers this season, having left the Patriots after 20 years. 

Gronkowski, who still has a year left on his contract with the Patriots, told New England he wants to return to football, but only with Brady and the Buccaneers, according to widespread reports. The final year of his deal is worth $10million.

At the time of his retirement, Gronkowski was considered one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history but had been plagued by an ailing back. 

A five-time Pro Bowler, Gronkowski’s 79 touchdown receptions are third-most in NFL history by a player in his position.

He recently appeared at WWE's WrestleMania but now joins O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate among Brady's tight end options.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are set to be reunited at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the former excited to "run it back" with his former New England Patriots team-mate.

Just hours after Gronkowski hinted he may come out of NFL retirement, it emerged the 30-year-old was indeed planning to return and was the subject of a trade between the Patriots and the Bucs.

According to reports, that deal was swiftly finalised on Tuesday and Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed his client was heading to the Bucs "pending a physical".

ESPN's Adam Schefter then said Gronkowski had passed his physical, paving the way for him to be reunited with Patriots great Brady in Tampa Bay.

The Patriots are reportedly sending Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-round selection.

The NFL's official Instagram uploaded a video of Brady and Gronkowski smiling in 2019 after the Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game to reach Super Bowl LIII.

The clip, which was accompanied by P. Diddy's 'Bad Boy for Life' included the caption "these two", with Brady writing in the comments: "Run it back".

Gronkowski had initially retired in March 2019, shortly after Super Bowl LIII, when he won his third ring, and Brady his sixth.

Last year the tight end was named to the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, along with Brady, and is widely regarded as one of the best to ever play the position.

However, a series of injuries meant he missed 29 regular season games out of a possible 144 during his first nine years in the NFL, all of which he spent in New England with Brady.

Gronkowski later said it was the mental toll, rather than the physical struggles, which had led him to call it a day.

Now, having recently won the WWE 24/7 Championship belt at WrestleMania 36 – which aired earlier this month – Gronkowski is returning to the NFL to play alongside Brady once more.

Rob Gronkowski is being traded from the New England Patriots to reunite with Tom Brady at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The development was confirmed by tight end Gronkowksi's agent Drew Rosenhaus.

He said to ESPN: "Pending the physical, Rob has agreed to play for Tampa this season. He will honour his current contract at this time."

The Patriots are reportedly sending Gronkowski and a seventh-round draft pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-round selection.

Gronkowski retired after helping the Patriots win the Super Bowl following the 2018 season, but had said he could return to football at some point. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the 30-year-old had revealed he was "not totally done" with the NFL as rumours over his return continued to gain momentum.

And future Hall of Fame quarterback Brady will now have a familiar target when he takes the field for the Buccaneers this season, having left the Patriots after 20 years. 

Gronkowski, who still has a year left on his contract with the Patriots, told New England he wants to return to football, but only with Brady and the Buccaneers, according to widespread reports. The final year of his deal is worth $10million.

At the time of his retirement, Gronkowski was considered one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history but had been plagued by an ailing back. 

A five-time Pro Bowler, Gronkowski’s 79 touchdown receptions are third-most in NFL history by a player in his position.

He recently appeared at WWE's WrestleMania but now joins O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate among Brady's tight end options.

Rob Gronkowski insists he is "not totally done" with football as rumours over a possible NFL return continue to gain momentum.

The three-time Super Bowl champion retired in March last year but he has been tipped to re-join fellow New England Patriots legend Tom Brady at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gronkowski has kept himself busy after quitting, the 30-year-old winning the WWE 24/7 Championship earlier this month following an eye-catching career change.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht recently said he had "no idea" if the former tight end might come out of retirement, but Gronkowski certainly did not dismiss the idea.

"The day that I retired, within 24 hours there was already rumours that I was coming out of retirement," the five-time Pro Bowler told Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.

"I'm feeling good right now, I'm happy where I'm at. You just never know, man. You just never know. You never know. I'm not totally done."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said he had "no idea" if Rob Gronkowski was interested in coming out of retirement.

A three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, Gronkowski, 30, announced his retirement from the NFL in March last year.

But with Tom Brady having left the Patriots to join the Buccaneers, there has been talk the pair could reunite in Tampa Bay.

However, Licht played down those suggestions, with Gronkowski having won the WWE 24/7 Championship earlier this month.

"Well, he's doing a pretty good job with WrestleMania right now. I have no idea if he would want to play," he told a video call on Thursday.

"I'll keep this on the draft right now because that's like asking about another player on another roster. He belongs to the New England Patriots.

"We're going to focus on the draft here and focus on players that are available."

Still, the Buccaneers will have six-time Super Bowl winner Brady next NFL season.

Licht was pleased the team Tampa Bay had built was enough to convince Brady to join.

"I have taken my fair share of criticism – a lot of it deserved – and I'll never shy away from that," he said.

"But we've also had a lot of hits and brought in a lot of good players that got us to this point, like you said. It feels very good.

"It feels damn good to have a player of Tom's stature and the resume that he has, that he felt like this is a place where he could come and win. It feels damn good."

Former New England Patriots and NFL star Rob Gronkowski has made a successful transition away from American football, winning his first WWE belt at WrestleMania 36.

Gronkowski – who retired from the NFL in 2018 – made his WWE debut at WrestleMania almost three years ago, while the 30-year-old appeared on Smackdown for the first time last month.

WWE is continuing with events behind closed doors at its performance centre in Orlando, Florida, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gronkowski captured the 24/7 Championship during the second night of the event's broadcast on Sunday, in front of no fans.

The three-time Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowler pinned Mojo Rawley after a huge stage dive to become a titleholder.

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