Posts Tagged ‘Tampa Bay Buccaneers’

Rob Gronkowski is hanging up his cleats – again.

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots tight end is retiring after 11 combined seasons in the NFL, he announced Tuesday.

“I want to thank the whole entire first-class Buccaneers organization for an amazing ride, trusting me to come back to play and help build a championship team,” Gronkowski wrote on Instagram.

“I will now be going back into my retirement home, walking away from football again with my head held high knowing I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field. The friendships and relationships I have made will last forever, and I appreciate every single one of my teammates and coaches for giving everything they had as well.

“From retirement, back to football and winning another championship, and now back to chilling out, thank you to all.”

The future of the veteran tight end had been a topic of discussion throughout the offseason after Gronkowski said he’d take time to evaluate his options at the end of last year. He recorded 802 yards in 2021 but could only suit up for 12 games due to injuries.

Gronkowski missed the 2019 season after riding into the sunset following the Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl LIII. However, he returned the following year to team up with longtime quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

The 33-year-old served a familiar role as one of Brady’s top targets in his two seasons with the Buccaneers. He helped the club win Super Bowl LV – the fourth championship of his career – by catching two touchdowns in the 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

“It is always difficult to see a great player walk away from the game when he is still enjoying that kind of success, but the overwhelming emotions I feel today are gratitude and respect for one of the greatest tight ends who ever played the game,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said.

“While his on-field accomplishments will surely earn him a gold jacket and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it is his humble attitude and team-first approach to the game that truly defined his career.”

Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said he was unsure if the tight end’s retirement is final.

“It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call,” Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “This is just my opinion, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”

Gronk built one of the most decorated playoff resumes in NFL history alongside Brady, who was his quarterback in each of his 11 seasons. The duo connected for an NFL-record 15 touchdowns in the postseason.

Gronkowski’s era of dominance began as a second-round pick by the Patriots in 2010. He earned five Pro Bowls and eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards on four occasions during his nine-year tenure in New England.

His 92 career touchdowns trail only Antonio Gates (116) and Tony Gonzalez (111) for most all time among tight ends.

Ndamukong Suh said Monday that he intends to continue his NFL career in 2022, but the defensive tackle doesn’t expect to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It looks like the Bucs are out of the picture,” Suh said on “NFL Live,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The 35-year-old suggested on Tuesday that he’d like to play for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Tampa Bay signaled it was moving on from Suh by signing Akiem Hicks to a one-year deal in June, bolstering a unit containing Vita VeaWilliam Gholston, and rookie Logan Hall.

Suh seemingly hasn’t been linked to any teams at this stage of the offseason.

The five-time Pro Bowler played in all 49 regular-season games in three seasons in Tampa Bay, racking up 14.5 sacks and 112 total tackles. He was a key part of the Bucs’ defense during the club’s Super Bowl run in 2020.

Tom Brady provided more details about his decision to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason after a brief retirement, saying Wednesday that he wasn’t able to stay away from football due to his “appetite to compete.”

The legendary quarterback can already see the end of the tunnel, though.

“I think mostly when I kind of told the team, ‘Look, you know guys gotta make plans without me.’ And then (GM) Jason (Licht) and (coach) Bruce (Arians) said, ‘Just give it time,'” Brady said on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “I said, ‘Look, I feel pretty strongly.’

“Then time went by, and you just get super competitive. I think I’m part crazy. … Forty-five years old and I’m out here with a lot of young guys that are trying to take my head off. I see (Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman) Aaron Donald work out on my Instagram, and I’m like, ‘Damn, maybe I should’ve stayed retired because he’s a beast.'”

He continued: “But I had the appetite to compete, and it’s going to be gone soon. … I gotta, you know, just really appreciate the time I have left because it’s not a lot.”

Brady officially announced he’d play his 23rd NFL season March 13, less than two months after first announcing his retirement.

It’s still unclear when Brady will retire for good. However, the seven-time Super Bowl champion does know what’s waiting for him once he hangs up his cleats.

“It’s going to be a totally new career,” Brady said of his agreement to become Fox Sports’ lead NFL analyst after he retires. “It’s a new opportunity for me to try something that I’m going to work really hard to prepare to be as good as I could possibly can be, knowing that the day that I walk on the set for the first time won’t be my finest moment.

“There’ll be a lot of growing pains and I’ll have to learn to be really good at it, but I also think there’s part of it that excites me.”

Brady, who turns 45 in August, has shown no signs of slowing down on the field. He led the NFL in completions (485), passing yards (5,316), and touchdowns (43) en route to finishing second in MVP voting last season.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is retiring from the NFL, ending a career that spanned 17 seasons and nine teams, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Fred Jackson seemed to announce the quarterback’s decision by posting a screenshot of an apparent text message from Fitzpatrick, his former Buffalo Bills teammate.

The veteran signal-caller is in talks with Amazon for a “key role” this season, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Amazon is set to take over the rights to Thursday Night Football in 2022.

Fitzpatrick spent the 2021 campaign with the Washington Commanders but suffered a season-ending hip injury in Week 1.

He also suited up for the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, and St. Louis Rams.

Fitzpatrick started for all nine teams he played for, which is an NFL record, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

The 39-year-old – whom the Rams drafted in the seventh round in 2005 – finishes his career with 34,990 passing yards (32nd all time) and 223 touchdowns (tied for 36th all time) and a record of 59-81-1.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached an agreement with former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks on a one-year deal worth up to $10 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Hicks, a Pro Bowler in 2018, spent the last six seasons with the Bears, starting 77 games. The 32-year-old, who’s been a solid run defender throughout his entire career, was one of football’s most disruptive defensive linemen early in his stint in Chicago. He racked up 23 sacks and 38 tackles for loss from 2016-18.

Injuries have bothered Hicks lately; he hasn’t played a full season since 2018. The veteran defender appeared in only five games in 2019 before missing one and eight contests in 2020 and 2021, respectively. He amassed 25 tackles and 3.5 sacks across nine games last year.

Hicks checks a lot of boxes for the Buccaneers, who’ve been looking for an experienced defensive lineman this offseason after they didn’t re-sign Ndamukong Suh and Steve McLendon. Suh started all 49 regular-season games for the Bucs over the last three campaigns.

Tampa Bay also bolstered its defensive front by drafting lineman Logan Hall in the second round this year. The team’s defensive depth chart already features Pro Bowl tackle Vita Vea.

The Bucs will be the fourth different team of Hicks’ career. The 2012 third-round pick played for the New Orleans Saints (2012-15) and New England Patriots (2015) before joining the Bears in 2016.

Tom Brady will join Fox Sports as its lead NFL analyst once his playing career ends, Fox announced Tuesday.

“We are pleased to announce that immediately following his playing career, seven-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady will be joining us at Fox Sports as our lead analyst,” Fox Corporation Executive Chair and CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.

“Over the course of this long-term agreement, Tom will not only call our biggest NFL games with Kevin Burkhardt but will also serve as an ambassador for us, particularly with respect to client and promotional initiatives,” Murdoch added.

Brady will receive a 10-year, $375-million deal from Fox, making it the richest contract in sports media history, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports.

Fox Sports issued a statement Tuesday denying the reported terms of Brady’s contract.

“What has been reported isn’t an accurate description of the deal, and we have not released details beyond what was disclosed on our quarterly earnings call,” the statement read, according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal.

The quarterback shared his excitement for his next career venture but said he still has “a lot of unfinished business” with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers quarterback is set to take part in his 23rd NFL campaign after the status of his playing future dominated the early portions of the 2022 offseason. The legendary quarterback retired earlier this year only to announce less than two months later in March that he would come out of retirement.

It remains uncertain how long the 44-year-old will continue playing in the NFL, but he is under contract with the Buccaneers for just one more season.

Brady has spent the last two seasons with the Bucs, earning two playoff appearances and one Super Bowl championship – the seventh title of his career. He is coming off a 2021 campaign that saw him lead the league in passing yards (5,316) and touchdowns (43).

Despite retiring at the age of 44 on Feb. 1, Tom Brady said Monday that he never doubted his ability to physically keep up with today’s game.

In fact, Brady, who’ll turn 45 on Aug. 3, said he returned for a 23rd NFL season last month because he believes he still belongs in the league.

“I knew my body, physically, could still do what it could do,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback told Tom VanHaaren of ESPN. “And, obviously, I have a love for the game. I think I’ll always have a love for the game.

“I do think, physically, I’ll be able to do it. I just felt like there was still a place for me on the field.”

After spending time with his family and reflecting on his decision to leave football, Brady spoke with members of the Buccaneers organization, including former head coach Bruce Arians. He then eventually decided to end his 40-day retirement. Brady said he was motivated by the love for his teammates and the chance to make up for last season’s “very bitter ending” at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams.

“I wanted to give myself and my teammates and our organization another incredible opportunity to accomplish something that we’d all be very proud of,” he said.

Brady added: “At the end of the day, I just love the competition on the field.”

However, the future Hall of Famer realizes he’s at the end of his career.

“I wish you could go forever, but it’s just not (possible). Football comes at too high of a cost now,” he said. “My kids are getting older, and it’s just getting harder and harder to miss these things.”

Brady showcased that he could still produce at an elite level in 2021. He led the league with 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns last season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are re-signing running back Giovani Bernard to a one-year deal, a source told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Bernard reportedly had offers from multiple teams this offseason but chose to return to Tampa Bay, where he was in 2021. His base salary in 2022 will be $1.12 million, according to The Athletic’s Greg Auman.

The 30-year-old, who spent his first eight NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, joined the Buccaneers last year as a pass-catching weapon in the backfield for Tom Brady. He finished the campaign with 23 receptions for 123 yards and three touchdowns while carrying the ball only eight times through 12 appearances.

Bernard will provide depth to Tampa Bay behind running backs Leonard Fournette and Ke’Shawn Vaughn. The Bucs brought Fournette back this offseason but saw Ronald Jones sign with the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is retiring and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will succeed him, the team announced Wednesday.

Arians will move to the front office, where he’ll be a senior football consultant.

“With the organization in probably the best shape it’s been in its history, with Tom Brady coming back … I’d rather see Todd in position to be successful and not have to take some (crappy) job,” Arians told Peter King of NBC Sports. “I’m probably retiring next year anyway, in February. So, I control the narrative right now. I don’t control it next February because (if) Brady gets hurt, we go 10-7, and it’s an open interview for the job … I got 31 (coaches and their) families that depend on me. My wife is big on not letting all those families down.”

Arians coached the Buccaneers from 2019-21 and led the team to a championship in Super Bowl LV. He previously said he’d return for a fourth campaign.

Arians retired once before, though his absence lasted only one season. He coached the Arizona Cardinals from 2013-17, leading the club to a pair of playoff berths and one appearance in the NFC Championship Game. He left the Cardinals as the winningest coach in franchise history.

The 62-year-old finishes his career on the sidelines with two Coach of the Year awards and an official record of 80-48-1. He went 9-3 with the Indianapolis Colts while filling in for Chuck Pagano in 2012, but that record is officially attributed to Pagano.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed running back Leonard Fournette to a three-year, $21-million contract that carries a max value of $24 million, sources told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Fournette visited the New England Patriots on Monday before deciding to return to the Bucs.

The veteran has spent the better part of the past two seasons as the primary ball carrier in Tampa. Fournette tallied 1,266 scrimmage yards (812 rushing, 454 receiving) to go along with 10 total touchdowns last season.

The LSU product began his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He ran for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging four yards per carry over three seasons with the AFC South franchise.

Fournette has become a versatile weapon for quarterback Tom Brady, who will return for his 23rd campaign after a brief retirement this offseason. Tampa Bay also signed wide receiver Chris Godwin to a new extension.

The Bucs don’t have much depth behind Fournette, as both Giovani Bernard and Ronald Jones are free agents.