NFL: Super Bowl LIII-Opening Night

Jan 28, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) during Opening Night for Super Bowl LIII at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski ramped up workouts and caloric intake to be ready for a big role in Tampa Bay this season.

Gronkowski, acquired from the New England Patriots in an April trade, came out of retirement to join Tom Brady with the Buccaneers. In just one year away, Gronkowski was noticeably leaner, dropping from 260 pounds to 240.

But Gronk is putting a fork in the weight class conversations.

"My lowest I got to was 240. And it felt good, you know. I've been above 260 pounds basically my whole entire life, since high school. Since senior year in high school, I was 260. I had never been under 260 since then," Gronkowski told CBS Sports. "So, it felt good just to drop that weight, you know ease up my joints, let my body free. I kind of felt like that weight was loaded weight, too. So, it felt good to get rid of it.

"Now it's time to build back upon it, put lean muscle on my body and get ready for the NFL season like I never have before. It's a different way, a different type of training style I'm doing and everything. I'm about 257 pounds right now. Everyone thinks I'm like 240, 230, but I'm basically four more protein shakes away from being at my playing weight. I'm excited about that. I'll definitely be at my weight when it's time to go. I'll be at 260 to 265 when it's time to roll."

The Buccaneers kept the other tight ends already on the roster, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard, and Gronkowski's injury history is of significance.

He has torn his ACL and MCL, fractured both arms, herniated a vertebral disc in his back and fractured his back. Health history played a role in Gronkowski's decision to retire from the Patriots before the 2019 season.

Given the unique circumstances that could surround training camp and preseason, the Buccaneers are likely to proceed with caution when it comes to rushing the 31-yaer-old Gronkowski back on the field.

--Field Level Media

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