Patriots

‘A real privilege to play with him’: Tom Brady on why Rob Gronkowski is a top-100 player in NFL history

"He has one of those maroon jackets for one of the 100 best in the history of the game."

Tom Brady
Quarterback Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to make a pass play against the Atlanta Falcons. Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are in their 11th season together, and at this point, Brady has put together a pretty extensive scouting report on a player he believes is one of greatest in NFL history.

After the Buccaneers’s 48-25 victory over the Falcons on Sunday — during which Brady connected with Gronkowski for two of the five touchdowns he threw — a reporter noted to Brady that it would be a surprise if Gronkowski ever dropped a pass.

“He’s got great hands, great instincts, awareness,” Brady said. “I think what people don’t realize, he’s an elite blocker and what he does in terms of red area, third down, locking in the run game — you can run behind him. Every run is available because you can run behind him. He catches the ball down the field, catches the ball short, run after catch, incredible hands.

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“He has one of those maroon jackets for one of the 100 best in the history of the game, and it’s just a real privilege to play with him.”

Brady and Gronkowski — who have already topped 100 total touchdown connections for their career — now have 88 in the regular season. The only duos who remain in their way are Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates at 89 and Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison at 112.

To catch Manning and Harrison this season, Brady and Gronkowski would need to average just under two touchdown catches per game the rest of the way. That’s highly unlikely, even though Brady and Gronkowski are currently averaging two per game.

However, in a recent video produced by the Buccaneers, Gronkowski asked Brady if he can play until he’s 50.

“I don’t find it so difficult,” Brady said. “Plus in Florida, it’s kind of a retiree state. So I feel like I can play and just glide into retirement. I think I can. I think it’s yes.”

If Gronkowski and Brady play another season together — let alone more — Manning and Harrison’s record could look much more attainable.

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