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Gronkowski reunited with Brady at Buccaneers

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Los Angeles (AFP)

Rob Gronkowski has made a stunning return from retirement to be reunited with former New England Patriots team-mate Tom Brady at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, reports said on Tuesday.

Hall of Fame shoo-in Gronkowski quit the NFL after playing a pivotal role in helping Brady and the Patriots win a record-equalling sixth Super Bowl title against the Los Angeles Rams last year.

The 30-year-old has often been linked to a return to the sport in the past year and had consistently refused to rule out ending his retirement for one last crack at the NFL.

Brady's departure from the Patriots to Tampa Bay has apparently persuaded the giant tight end to cut short his retirement.

Gronkowski still had one year left on his Patriots contract. New England has agreed to trade Gronkowski for a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft.

Gronkowski's agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed the deal to ESPN on Tuesday.

"Pending the physical, Rob has agreed to play for Tampa this season," Rosenhaus said. "He will honor his current contract at this time."

In nine seasons in the NFL, Gronkowski established himself as one of the greatest tight ends of all time, catching 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns.

He topped 1,000 receiving yards in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2017 and made four Pro Bowls while establishing himself as one of Brady's most trustworthy targets.

The Patriots badly missed Gronkowski's presence last season, with an unconvincing offense exiting in the team's wild-card defeat to Tennessee.

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