Tom Brady outlasting Gronk is another incredible sign of his longevity

Alex Reimer
March 25, 2019 - 12:16 pm
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Tom Brady was already entering his 11th season when Rob Gronkowski joined the Patriots. At that point, TB12 had already won three Super Bowls, suffered one of the most infamous Super Bowl losses in league history, married Gisele Bundchen, and turned himself into an international icon. 

Nine years later, Brady is in the same place, with three additional Super Bowl rings, five Super Bowl appearances, and eight AFC championship games on his resume. Gronk was perhaps the most important ingredient to Brady’s second wind, which saw TB12 cement himself as the greatest quarterback of all-time.

And now, as Brady prepares for his 20th campaign, he will move onto the third wind of his career without the best tight end ever, who came and went before turning 30 years old. 

Meanwhile, the 42-year-old Brady is poised to sign another contract extension with the Patriots, which could take him to his mid-40s.

Gronkowski’s NFL career was always on borrowed time, given the herniated disc condition that caused him to slip to the second round of the NFL Draft. Gronk has undergone at least nine surgeries, including three back operations, over the last decade. 

If it weren’t for the TB12 Method, maybe Gronk would’ve called it quits even sooner. But he started working with Alex Guerrero in recent years and produced one of his best years ever in 2017. Gronk was a beast that postseason, catching nine passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the Super Bowl. His gargantuan 260-pound frame looked nimble down the stretch, thanks to Alex G’s pliability work.

Despite dealing with back and shoulder issues for most of 2018, Gronk enjoyed another great playoff, getting on the field for every single offensive snap in the AFC championship and Super Bowl. His receptions set up the game-winning score in both contests.

And now, in the words of Drew Rosenhaus, Gronk just wants to do nothing for a while. Maybe he’ll reunite with Brady later this season, but not before some well-earned rest.

Outside of missing voluntary OTAs last spring, Brady hasn’t rested for 19 years. He hasn’t missed one game due to injury since tearing his ACL in 2008 and was getting rid of the ball at a lightning pace in the playoffs. Brady is still sharp. 

He’s now outlasted two generations of Hall of Famers, from early aughts fixtures such as Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis to Gronkowski, who wasn’t even in middle school when Brady won his first Super Bowl.

His greatness is everlasting. 

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