Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is getting a rough first taste of football after a year away. With the team a week into training camp, Gronkowski is reportedly struggling with the Florida heat.
Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Gronkowski, 31, is ready to play in games but still needs to get in “Florida shape,” according to CBS Sports.
"He's probably in New England shape right now. He's not in Florida shape. The heat's kicking his ass pretty good," Arians laughed after practice Monday. "It's different, man. When you train in New England and come down here, it's different. We laughed about it out there today. I don't think he's ever sweat that much in his life.
"So it takes a little time to get into the Florida shape, but as far as playing a game he's more than ready right now."
Arians, 67, was laughing as he said that, so it doesn’t appear he’s concerned with Gronkowski’s conditioning.
Rob Gronkowski looking to make an impact after a year away
While Gronkowski is in a good situation, it’s unclear how he’ll perform after a year away from football. Gronkowski retired after the 2018 season. He did not play in 2019.
The opportunity to join Tom Brady on a new team was too appealing for Gronkowski to pass up. He’ll look to prove he’s healthy and still has plenty left in the tank in 2020.
While Gronkowski has already carved out a Hall of Fame worthy career, he didn’t look like the same player in 2018. That season, Gronkowski caught 47 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns. That production was far below Gronkowski’s usual numbers.
What is Rob Gronkowski’s role with Bucs?
The lack of preseason games in 2020 makes it unclear how much Gronkowski will play this year. Under normal circumstances, Gronkowski would be expected to be a full-time player, but the year away puts Gronkowski’s playing time in question.
If Gronkowski needs a few plays off — whether due to conditioning or the Florida sun — the Bucs shouldn’t miss much on the field. With O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate around, the Bucs have arguably the best tight end group in the NFL.
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