April 23 (UPI) -- Star tight end Rob Gronkowski said he considered a reunion with Tom Brady on other NFL teams before he joined his former New England Patriots teammate on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' roster.
The Patriots were among the teams Gronkowski considered before Brady opted to leave the franchise and sign elsewhere as a free agent. Tampa Bay acquired Gronkowski and a seventh-round NFL Draft pick Tuesday in a trade from the Patriots in exchange for a fourth-round pick.
Gronkowski took an NFL hiatus after the 2018-2019 season with the Patriots. He departed from football after winning his third Super Bowl. He cited numerous injuries and ongoing pain he sustained during his decorated tenure among the reasons he stepped away. He never officially filed for retirement through the league office, but was placed on the Patriots' reserved/retired list.
The future Pro Football Hall of Famer said he received multiple offers to return to football in the last year. He said he didn't want to return until he felt healthy and "ready to go."
Gronkowski and Brady were teammates for nine seasons. The veteran tight end said his desire to play football returned this off-season. Gronkowski took at least a month off to rest his body after he left the Patriots before he resumed workouts.
Brady and Gronkowski worked out together two months ago and threw passes to each other before Brady signed with the Buccaneers. Gronkowski told Brady he wanted to come back during the session.
"I told him I'm kind of getting that fire underneath me again," Gronkowski said. "[I said] 'I'm definitely interested in the decision that you make. If there is the right opportunity out there and you go somewhere ... even if you go back to the Patriots, there is a chance I would love to reconnect.' That's where the conversation started."
Gronkowski said Brady was "juiced up" when he heard Gronkowski wanted to return to the NFL. The veteran tight end also said he would have "definitely looked at" the opportunity to return to New England.
"Playing with Tom is special," Gronkowski said. "He is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. To build a connection with a quarterback is something special.
"We have a great chemistry out there. Every time we get together it's just like the old days."
Gronkowski said he currently weighs 250 pounds. The 6-foot-6 pass catcher is listed at 286 pounds on Pro Football Reference. He said it will be easy to push his weight up 10 or 15 pounds if he needs to.
"Tom is like the appetizer of the whole meal. He got me hooked when he went to Tampa," Gronkowski said.
The 30-year-old playmaker had 47 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games in 2018 for the Patriots.