Mike Evans: I hope Rob Gronkowski returns, but feel like he’s done

Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans thought quarterback Tom Brady was pulling his leg when he said he was returning to the team after a brief retirement early this year, but that change of plans hasn’t impacted his view on what tight end Rob Gronkowski will do this year.

Gronkowski recently announced a retirement that his agent and many others think may not last much longer than Brady’s time as a retiree. During an interview with Ari Alexander of KPRC, Evans was asked if he shares that opinion.

Evans said he’s hopeful that he’ll be sharing the field with Gronkowski again this year, but that he doesn’t think that’s how things are going to play out.

“I hope he comes back. With Tom and Gronk, you never know,” Evans said. “I wouldn’t be mad if he came back. I’d actually be really excited if he came back, but I feel like he’s done. He plays the tight end position and he plays it max effort. Gives it his all, practices really hard, takes a lot of shots, blocks, runs after the catch. He takes a pretty big beating, I’ve seen his body after some of them games and I understand why.”

Evans said that it hurts the offense to lose “the best tight end ever” and said it would be up to him and others to pick up the slack if Gronkowski does decide to remain on the sidelines.