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Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski (ribs) remained sidelined for Thursday's practice. He seems unlikely to return for this weekend's game vs. the Bears. TE O.J. Howard (ankle) returned to a limited practice on Thursday and figures to split pass-catching duties with TE Cameron Brate again on Sunday.

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TE Rob Gronkowski tells NFL insider Jordan Schultz that he's retiring. It's only June, of course, so there's plenty of time for Gronk to change his mind. In fact, he "retired" back in 2019 before eventually returning with QB Tom Brady and the Bucs in 2020. So we're not completely ruling out another season from Gronkowski. But he'd be tough to draft as more than a last-pick flier right now. Losing Gronk would be a big blow to a Bucs offense that lost WR Antonio Brown and has WR Chris Godwin iffy for the start of the season after tearing his ACL in December. TEs Cameron Brate and rookie Cade Otton are next up on Tampa's depth chart.

Update: Gronkowski confirmed his retirement on his Instagram. But his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, isn't totally buying it. “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.”

Per beat writer Rick Stroud, the Bucs are “optimistic” TE Rob Gronkowski will re-sign prior to training camp. Gronk currently projects as a TE1 for the 2022 fantasy football season.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus said he told the Bucs that TE Rob Gronkowski is "truly undecided" about whether he'll play in 2022. We wouldn't expect Gronk to commit to another season in March. But we're ultimately expecting him to make another run at a Super Bowl with Tom Brady. Gronkowski is worth taking some shots on at his current 9th-round FFPC ADP. That'll climb at least a few rounds if and when he announces that he's playing this season.

Asked who he’d like to play with now that Tom Brady has retired, TE Rob Gronkowski mentioned Joe Burrow. “I kinda like this young buck quarterback. He’s in the Super Bowl now: It’s Joe Burrow, man,” Gronkowski said via MassLive.com. “I watched him in college. I just love the way he presents himself out on the football field. In the pocket he’s just so calm and he just slings it out on the field. I just love his swag, too. If I had to pick a quarterback, it’d be the young buck Joe Burrow. “He’s killing it right now in the game.” It's worth noting that C.J. Uzomah’s contract expires next month. And the Bengals have enough cap space if they wanted to make a run at Gronk, an impending free agent. But we'll see if the 33-year-old (in May) ultimately decides to put his body through another long season. Gronk posted 55-802-6 in 2021 (12 games).

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski commented on his potential 2022 return during a chat with reporters on Monday. "I’m really going to basically do what’s best for myself in terms of the football world," Gronkowski said. "It's going to be a decision based upon of where I’m at in a couple weeks.” Gronk added that he might play another season -- even if Tom Brady retires. We’re guessing the 32-year-old will continue playing, but we might not get confirmation for a couple of months. Gronk, an impending free agent, ended this past season as the PPR TE7 despite missing 5 games.

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