Even Gronk’s girlfriend, Camille Kostek, cannot conclude that the four-time Super Bowl winner has played his final NFL game.
After all, his stat line of 802 yards and six touchdowns last season doesn’t indicate a tight end who is slowing down.
However, the Buccaneers might have ended the rumors of Gronkowski’s return with their latest signing.
Tom Brady has a new tight end: The #Bucs are signing veteran Kyle Rudolph to a one-year deal, per source.
A two-time Pro Bowl pick, Rudolph spent 10 years in Minnesota before playing for the #Giants in 2021. Now, he figures as a big piece of the post-Gronk plan in Tampa.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 21, 2022
NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero tweeted, “Tom Brady has a new tight end: The #Bucs are signing veteran Kyle Rudolph to a one-year deal, per source. A two-time Pro Bowl pick, Rudolph spent 10 years in Minnesota before playing for the #Giants in 2021. Now, he figures as a big piece of the post-Gronk plan in Tampa.”
Rudolph earned his first Pro Bowl inclusion in 2012 wherein he had 493 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns.
He got his second Pro Bowl nomination five years later after finishing with 532 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Notre Dame alumnus earned his career-high in yards in 2016 with 840.
Aside from the Pro Bowl, Rudolph was also a part of the 2011 All-Rookie Team by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Last season, he finished with 257 yards and a touchdown for the New York Giants.
Steady Option At Tight End
Rudolph might not be as dominating as Gronkowski but he delivers when needed.
His lowest average yards per catch is 9.3 and has a career average of 30.4 yards per game.
Unlike in previous seasons wherein Gronkowski is clearly the top option, the Buccaneers will have Rudolph and Cameron Brate filling in for the future Hall of Famer.
Brady will know how to get the most out of them, especially during third-down situations.