Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that club executives are “optimistic” that Rob Gronkowski would return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers later this year, despite uncertainty about Gronkowski’s future. In March, Gronkowski became a free agent when his one-year deal with the Buccaneers expired.

He still has not made a public statement on whether or not he expects to play for the NFC South champs in 2022 since then. In spite of the tight end’s uncertainty about his NFL future, the Buccaneers are confident that the tight end will re-sign before the club begins training camp in late July.

This week’s full-squad exercises won’t include the veteran at the very least. This season, the Buccaneers are giving the 33-year-old the time and space he needs to decide whether or not he wants to resuscitate his career with the team moving forward.

Gronkowski yet to make final decision his future

According to an Instagram post by running back Leonard Fournette, Gronkowski said that in the future, he will “represent a 7 jersey” in the stands. That statement sparked talk about a probable retirement.

Tampa Bay would have numerous choices if the free agent chooses to hang up his cleats in the next few months. For starters, Cameron Brate will be back for his seventh season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, while newcomers Cade Otton and Ko Kieft are expected to give the team depth.