Rob Gronkowski Returns to the NFL, But There’s Just One Problem: He’s Still a WWE Champion

After a short-lived retirement, Rob Gronkowski is back in the NFL once again — but this time he’s returning as a current WWE champion.

On Tuesday, the 30-year-old tight end was traded from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He now officially rejoins his longtime quarterback, Tom Brady, who he won three Super Bowls with during their time in New England.

While Gronkowski never completely shut the door on a return to football, he seemed to be building a solid second career for himself as a TV host during his year-long break from the NFL. He signed with FOX Sports as an NFL studio analyst shortly after announcing his retirement in 2019, then, earlier this month, joined WWE to co-host WrestleMania 36.

But it was at WrestleMania that Gronkowski managed to pin wrestler Mojo Rawley for a three-count to win the WWE 24/7 Championship title — a belt he still holds today.

The 24/7 Championship is unique in the company as it’s open to anyone, even if they’re not a WWE employee. It does come with a special rule, though — the belt has to be defended “24/7,” meaning the champion can lose it anytime or anywhere, as long as a WWE referee is present.

Unless he’s pinned, that means Gronkowski will officially be on an NFL roster as a current WWE champion.

So far, it doesn’t seem as if the WWE is stripping Gronkowski of his title.

“Congratulations to Rob Gronkowski, the current WWE 24/7 Champion, on his return to football,” the company wrote on Twitter.

“Per the rules of the 24/7 title, Gronk must defend his championship at all times in any location,” the tweet continued. “He could be celebrating a touchdown pass from @TomBrady… anytime, anywhere.”

While in Tampa Bay, Gronkowski will only be a short drive from WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, where the company is exclusively taping its weekly RAW and Smackdown episodes. So, it’s not inconceivable that Gronkowski could make an occasional in-ring appearance in the future.

Gronkowski has had a previous relationship with WWE by way of his real-life friend, Rawley. He made a surprise appearance at the 2017 WrestleMania to help Rawley win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. This launched speculation that Gronkowski could one day have a career in the WWE.

“A guy that can move the way he can, just his size and his overall demeanor and charisma, yeah that’s kind of what we recruit around, that’s exactly what we’re looking for here,” Rawley previously told TMZ potentially seeing Gronkowski as a wrestler. “He’d be a perfect fit.”

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