Sportress of Blogitude

Rob Gronkowski loved mother living nearby during first season with Bucs

When Rob Gronkowski was considering whether to come out of retirement last spring, the lure of reuniting with longtime teammate Tom Brady with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers proved too tantalizing to pass up.

Sweetening the deal that much more was how the superstar tight end’s mother, Diane Walters, lives about an hour away from the Bucs facilities in the suburbs of Fort Myers, Fla.

It goes without saying a Super Bowl LV victory would put an exclamation point on a season when Gronkowski enjoyed spending a lot of time with his mom while getting settled with a new team and home base.

“It’s pretty special to be down here and just to go visit my mom an hour-and-a-half away, sleep over, wake up in the morning, and drive to work,” Gronkowski said this week in Tampa ahead of Sunday’s showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, via Mike Reiss of ESPN. “The impact on my life she has made has been tremendous and has carried over to this day.”

Walters really enjoyed having her 31-year-old son around so much as well.

“We kind of got into a pattern this year,” Walters said. “If it was an away game, then he came here the next day. He’d stay overnight, have a real good meal, get a good night’s sleep, and then we’d have breakfast and he’d head back in the morning.

“… He usually doesn’t get here until late, 4, 5 o’clock. We’ll go for a bike ride or a walk, then we’ll have dinner, and then we go for another bike ride or walk,” Walters added of when Gronk would drop by the day after road games. “Then it’s 10 o’clock and he’s exhausted because he just flew in the night before, so it’s his night to go to bed early.”

Gronkowski spent the players’ day off Sunday hanging out with his mom, revealing during a Monday interview that he had just returned from Fort Myers. His mother packed him a care package loaded with a breakfast sandwich and drinks for the drive back.

Walters believes her biggest problem child — quite the testament given Gronkowski’s four similarly rambunctious brothers — is mellowing, perhaps just slightly, with age.

“Maybe he’s a little more relaxed,” she said. “But he’s always been a happy guy, never complaining about anything.”

Gronkowski’s long-supportive mother will be in the stands at Raymond James Stadium Sunday cheering on her four-time All-Pro tight end son. Making it even better? Sons Gordie Jr., Dan, Chris and Glenn will be along for the ride at Super Bowl LV as well as Gronkowski pursues a fourth championship to cap his celebrated return to the NFL.

“This has been the best thing that’s happened in a long, long time,” Walters said of the 2020 season and what’s potentially left to come.