TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Rob Gronkowski was in the end zone more recently as he and Tom Brady prepare to tackle their eighth postseason together. Nobody is happier about how this arrangement worked out than Brady, his longtime friend, even though Gronkowski playfully took back his Christmas present for Brady and actually gave it away again.
"I actually took his Bumpboxx away from him and gave it to one of the cafeteria workers," said Gronkowski on Thursday, referring to the large, colorful Bluetooth boom boxes with microphones that not only provide locker room music but also the occasional rap -Fight between them facilitate players.
"I thought 'Tom, you don't need the Bumpboxx'" said Gronkowski. “And he agreed. I said, "You are a good guy." And then he gave me sunglasses … "
Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady teamed up in the playoffs with 12 receiving TDs, the most tied by a QB receiving target duo in NFL history. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Brady laughed. "Did he tell you that?" he asked. "I'm glad he did. I said," Yeah, you should do that. "I have a lot of great stories with him."
What's interesting, though, is that Brady's favorite memory of Gronk didn't come from one of their three Super Bowls, where Gronk scored 23 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns – but a time when it took Gronk Brady to get through him in the clutch.
"There was one time when he was preparing for a GQ photoshoot and he didn't think he was in good shape so he called me and it was like a Wednesday," said Brady. "And he says," Hey, can we train together? Can we throw a little? “So we went to that baseball field, it was raining, it was like, I don't know, April, it was bad weather and we hadn't thrown a pass since the end of the season. And we probably threw 60 passes, routes, and we didn't drop a ball. So it was like the ball never fell on the floor.
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“And then he said [lowers his voice to sound like Gronkowski], 'Dude, that was great. That was perfect. That was exactly what I needed. I feel torn now. “And he was ready for his photo shoot because the two of us were training together one day. It was a good execution, but I think it was more important to him that he felt like he was being shredded and now he could prepare for his GQ photoshoot. That's one of the great stories. Only he is Rob. That's why everyone loves him. "
Jokes aside, Brady was thrilled to have Gronkowski on a new system for his freshman year at Tampa Bay, and to help run a team that has very little post-season experience. The two have the chance to break an important record in two weeks. Gronkowski and Brady have received 12 touchdowns in the playoffs tied to Joe Montana and Jerry Rice for the most post-season touchdowns from a QB receiving target duo in NFL history, according to ESPN Stat & Information Research.
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"It was amazing. I've known him since he was in the league," said Brady. "He has an amazing work ethic, [he's] tough, [a] very selfless, [a] a great teammate and does whatever you want ask of him.
“He knows how I feel about him. I have a lot of confidence in the greatest moments with him. Sometimes I think of players who, when it was the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, who I want in play with me. He definitely fits it. That just means, in the greatest moments, who do you want out there? If he can deliver like he always has it is a huge compliment to him and the way that I not only feel about him, but how all of his teammates think of him. Just an amazing player, teammate and everything. I love playing with the guy. "
The feeling is mutual from Gronkowski, who said Brady was still the same guy he first caught 10 years ago in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and paved the way for a close friendship that ultimately brought about the close end of retirement even if he thought it was right body had enough.
"As a player, he really hasn't changed. From the moment I first met him, he was all-in – all-in with practice, all-in at meetings [and all-in] to every day to get better, "Gronkowski said throughout his career to that point. "