Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians says unretired tight end Rob Gronkowski has "healed" from multiple back surgeries and looks the "same" as he did five or six years ago, when he was an All-Pro.
"He doesn't have a gigantic elbow brace on," Arians said Thursday, in reference to the brace Gronkowski wore at the end of his tenure with the New England Patriots.
"He's moving, running fast again and has great body control. Some of the stiffness I saw after all the injuries looks like it's gone."
Gronkowski, 31, retired after the 2018 season and missed the entire 2019 season. The 6-foot-6, 268-pound playmaker missed 13 games in his final three seasons with the Patriots.
His body appeared to be broken down during his final season, when he had 47 catches for 682 yards and three scores in 13 games.
Gronkowski was an All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection in 2017. He also was an All-Pro in 2011, 2014 and 2015. The five-time Pro Bowler has had four seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards.
"I'm feeling good out there," Gronkowski said Thursday. "My body feels good. That's why I came back to the game. That's how I want to be moving. I want to be moving like how I was back in the day."
The Patriots traded Gronkowski to the Buccaneers in exchange for a seventh-round 2020 NFL Draft pick in April. The move came a month after former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady signed with the Buccaneers as a free agent.
The Buccaneers also have O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate at tight end on their depth chart. Howard -- the No. 19 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft -- had 34 catches for 459 yards and a touchdown in 14 games last season. Brate had 36 catches for 311 yards and four scores in 16 games in 2019.
"I love our tight end room," Gronkowski said. "The guys are all great guys. The amount of tight ends we have that want to go out there and play and learn ... it's just a special group."
The Buccaneers will face the New Orleans Saints in the first game of the season at 4:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.