NFC Notes: Rob Gronkowski, Adam Thielen, Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


Former Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski says he won’t be returning to professional football and will remain retired.

“There’s no chance anymore,” Gronkowski told TMZ. “I’m happily retired. I actually picked up pickleball. I beat my brother, Chris, who plays with pros, and my other brother, Gordon, who plays with pros too! And I beat ’em with an average Joe — my other brother, Glenn G., was my partner! So, I’m happily retired. I’m still competing, I’m still winning, so I don’t even need to go back to football.”

  • Jeremy Fowler reports that Michigan TE Luke Schoonmaker has pre-draft visits with the Bills, Broncos, Buccaneers, Jets, and Lions.


Panthers WR Adam Thielen is excited to get another chapter of his career started in Carolina and was sought after by both GM Scott Fitterer and HC Frank Reich.

“There are so many factors that lead to these decisions,” Thielen said, via Augusta Stone of “I just want people to know that I feel really good about being here, and I feel really good about the choice and how it laid out. I really trusted God through this process, and I tried to take a backseat but kind of put my hand on it as well. And I couldn’t be happier to be here.”

“I wanted to be part of a team that was moving (in) the direction of winning a championship, and I could feel that when I walked in this building,” Thielen added. “A great defense they had last year, and they’re only building on that; the offensive weapons and pieces that they’ve put together so far and are going to continue to put forward with the draft and maybe some more free-agent signings. I think that was really intriguing to me. I wanted to go somewhere late in my career to end my career and be a part of it for the long haul. And to end my career in one more spot, not bounce around.”

“I had a conversation with him, but I know Frank sat down with him and our offensive staff, Thomas Brown, and laid out exactly what the vision for him is,” Fitterer said of Thielen. “It wasn’t just like a five-minute passing; ‘Hey, once you’re here, you’re catching balls.’ It was a well-thought-out meeting that they had. They found like, ‘This will work for both of us. This is good common ground. I can be successful here. I can help us win.’ And he can help us win.”

“Adam, I mean, a couple of years ago, we’re talking about this guy as one of the best receivers in the league,” Reich said of the team’s new veteran wide receiver. “I’m just super excited to have him. He has position flex; his age, to me, is not a big deal. As I watch him on tape, he still looks to have that burst and speed. He’s so crafty in his route running. He still can run by you. … We’ll really move him all over the place.”


Former Saints RB Mark Ingram wants to play another season in the NFL, which would be number thirteen for the veteran who currently sits at No. 50 all-time in rushing yards and doesn’t mind sharing the backfield.

“Splitting time, splitting backfields has been a blessing,” Ingram said, via “But it’s also been frustrating at times because I felt like on several occasions or had I had the opportunity to be a feature guy, a bell cow, knowing I wake up Sunday knowing I’m going to get 20 touches, I think that’s a little different. But I don’t have any regrets. Every time, I just try to take advantage of my opportunities, try to take advantage of my role within the offense and maximize my touches any time that I had the opportunity to touch the ball. I think sharing backfields, I think not getting overloaded with 300 carries a season for like five or six seasons in a row, I think that has helped me make it to Year 13 and still have a good body where I feel strong, I feel explosive, I feel like I can contribute and produce at a high level. But also just mentally as well — physical, emotionally, all that. That’s why I think I still have that drive and that hunger and desire and I think that has something to do with me sharing the ball, splitting time over the years, even in college.”

  • Aaron Wilson reports that Incarnate Word QB Lindsey Scott Jr. worked out privately for the Saints. 
  • Aaron Wilson reports that Oklahoma State S Jason Taylor II has met with the Eagles, Jets, Raiders, and Texans. He has meetings scheduled with the Chiefs and Saints as well.

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