Gronk, not Brady, may very well be Tampa Bay’s Greatest Story Native Sports activities

His story is inspiring.

A winner. One of the best who has ever played his position. Towards the end of his career. Renewed. Breaks from the chains of Bill Belichick. Join a longstanding franchise loss and help turn it into a Super Bowl team immediately.

Basically a big, bold “I told you!”

Tom Brady?

Under no circumstance. Sure, the Brady-to-Bucs story is great, but let’s face it, Brady basically went to a candy store in Tampa and got everything he wanted, so never had so many wonderful ways to sell the ball .

This inspiring story is about Rob Gronkowski.

Do you remember the last fight in New England for Brady?

It was ugly. From early November to early January, the Patriots were just as confused as they have been since Brady took over.

After an 8-0 start, the Patriots were 4-4 in their last eight regular games and then couldn’t convert a 1-1 from the 1-yard line against the Tennessee Titans. Game over.

The Titans game and Brady’s career as a patriot ended with a pick-six that day.

Here’s another factoid from that miserable 2019 season. Gronkowski wasn’t there. He retired.

Do the Patriots with tight challenges go 4-4 and lose to the Titans in the wild card round with Gronk?

My guess? No and no.

Ironically, in Tampa, Gronk embodied the epitome of “The Patriot Way” in his short retirement.

He played all 16 games that hadn’t taken place as a Patriot since 2011.

His production – 45 receptions, 623 yards, 7 TDs – compares favorably with his senior year in New England, a Super Bowl championship year.

But the best?

He’s never complained about his smile, his energy, or his fact, especially in the last three games when he only “piled up” two receptions.

Indeed, his blockade, which was a high point in his career with the Patriots, was an elite.

“He exceeded my expectations,” said Bucs head coach Bruce Arians. “Tom and I actually talked about it after training (at the end of December). He ran across the track and it’s like, ‘Man, it looks like six or seven years ago.’ “

Maybe that overstates things a bit, but the happy Gronk made a difference.

What do you think it means for a sure hall of famer who never complains about their selfless role, which wasn’t what it was during its prime?

Cameron Brate, another close end to Bucs, has seen his goals drop since Gronk joined the Bucs.

But seeing Gronk doing the dirty work without complaining was inspiring.

“He’s amazing,” said Brate, a Harvard University graduate who has now completed its seventh season. “His work ethic is amazing. I’ve learned so much from watching him … and he’s funny too. Really funny. “

One thing the Patriots lacked in 2020, aside from the elite quarterback play and production from the tight end position – just 15 receptions, 154 yards, 1 TD – was personality.

Quarterback Cam Newton was closest with his wardrobe and cute nickname, but he wasn’t a Gronk.

Brady posted a video on Instagram Sunday night in which he shook his head, walked to his car at night, and then waved to the other man who walked with him, Gronk, picking up a shirt to close the NFC Champions t-shirt demonstrate.

It was the same video Brady posted two years ago when the Patriots beat Kansas City on their way to the Super Bowl win over the Rams and showed Gronk his AFC Champions t-shirt.

It was a great move from Brady not only to tweak some people in New England, but also to show off his friend in Tampa, whose story is as good as his.

You can email Bill Burt at [email protected].

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