O.J. Howard: No Issues With Rob Gronkowski

May 27th, 2021

Loves playing with Gronk.

It’s only natural for a guy considered to be the best on a team at his position to get a bruised ego if the team brings in someone as good or better than him.

So it was a legitimate wonder about the status of former first-round pick O.J. Howard when the team traded for foot-rubbing, car-littering future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski.

When the Bucs drafted Howard with the 19th overall pick in 2017, a lot of folks expected Howard to dominate. That hasn’t happened, though he has shown flashes. This includes his 28-yard touchdown against the Chargers in his final game last season before blowing out his Achilles.

Howard was well aware of the speculation, he told Pat McAfee this week, saying that chatter was way overblown.

Howard added that the day the Bucs acquired Gronk an excited text was sent to all Bucs tight ends from park-violating, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring, down-forgetting, handshake-stiffing, jet-ski-losing, biscuit-baking, tequila-shooting, smartphone-phobic, waffle-grilling, trophy-throwing, roller coaster-scared, numbers-rules-peeved, Super-Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady.

And Howard said he quickly learned that Gronk will open things up for him. Howard explained the way he was used in 2019 didn’t often lead to Howard running a lot of routes down the field.

That changed with Gronk.

“Last year, 2019, was my first year in the offense and we [tight ends] were typically blocking a lot as a tight end in that offense,” Howard said. “So I was like, ‘This is an opportunity for Gronk to come in and help me by taking some of the [blocking] load off of me.’ I couldn’t complain about that.

“It was a big load. I was blocking 60, 70 plays a game and 50 of those were run plays. I needed someone to come in and take the load off of me. And [Gronk] helped me out. So I loved it.”

Howard has a helluva point. Gronk is a ferocious blocker and Howard as a blocker, well, let’s just say he’s a work in progress.

It always seems like a waste of Howard’s downfield abilities to keep him home blocking, especially in the run game, especially since Howard will never be confused with Tristan Wirfs as a blocker.

As for the perceived, speculated drama that he sulked or grew restless after the Bucs acquired Gronk, Howard insisted that just wasn’t so.

“The typical mindset of a person would be, ‘They’re coming in to replace me.’ I didn’t do that, man.”

If there was a bruised ego, Howard sure got over it quickly. He referred to Gronk as “my boy” and as you can see from the photo below, they attended the Lightning’s series-clinching win over the Stinking Panthers last night at the Ice Palace (Joe also saw a photo on Instagram that Cam Brate was with them, too).

21 Responses to “O.J. Howard: No Issues With Rob Gronkowski”

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    I’m shocked Brate is still here w/ the salary cap. Our sippy cup runneth over at TE

  2. Sport Says:

    Easy not be worried when you are still on your 1st round rookie contract.

    The big issue here is that he WASN’Tworried. What exactly is it that’s he’s done so far to be comfortable?

    Youth, arrogance, God forbid complacency. He’s on the sideline while his team wins the Suoerbowl with a HOF TE and he’s not worried….


    Time for you to show up, stay off the IR and ball out!

    In BA I Trust!

  3. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Brate already reduced/cut his salary twice.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    It’s all about TEAM!

  5. PSL Bob Says:

    Love to see the guys out supporting other local sports clubs. Go Lightning! Go Rays! Go Bucs! What a town!

  6. Hope springs eternal Says:

    The missing piece? How does a physically gifted individual with huge potential languish in obscurity for multiple years? Who is at fault when tremendous seeming potential fizzles year after year? Coaching? A player who looks like a dominate player whose actual performance is way below expected potential? Something just doesn’t add up.

  7. Stu Says:

    Not a fan of the quote,” It was a big load. I was blocking 60, 70 plays a game and 50 of those were run plays. I needed someone to come in and take the load off of me. And [Gronk] helped me out. So I loved it.”
    Adios OJ…gimme someone that WANTS to block, not looking for load management.

  8. Mike C Says:

    True Stu

  9. Sport Says:

    Cam has proven himself and shows an ability to be on the field when the Team needs him. What has OJ shown you to think we should get rid of Cam?

    In BA I Trust!

  10. sgrd0q Says:

    Tight ends can be an oddity in the NFL as the huge power, height, bulk and strength can be too much for ligaments and bones. We are simply not designed to experience those forces. Size increases and muscles grow, while ligaments and bones are relatively static in strength. Then you ask you body to do too much and things break.

    The tight ends that last are the smart ones that have learned to scale back in critical situations. It is not Howard’s fault that he is always injured. he needs to learn how to not overstress his body.

  11. Sport Says:

    Also, We averaged 64 plays per game. Don’t remember us having 14 pass attempts. 🙄

    In BA I Trust!

  12. Medicated Pete Says:

    @ Sport

    I just thought Brate would go to another team if the Bucs tried to cut his salary again. I like him a lot

  13. Robert Says:

    19th overall pick. Stings to hear that for a guy who has yet to produce anything relevant and is still on the team.

  14. mark2001 Says:

    Med…glad Brate is here. OJ has had difficulty staying on the field. And we need two really good TE’s to keep Brady’s tool box full. I think if we really felt OJ would be 100 percent and stay healthy all year, Brate would have been traded. But we just don’t know.

  15. HeyItsAdam Says:

    We owe Brate a huge apology…. drafting Howard was a huge middle finger to a guy who’s done everything asked of him (including restructuring his paycheck) over and over and over again despite being disrespected for the POSSIBILITY, the POTENTIAL, for the “what MIGHT happen” with I.R. Howard. The guy balls no matter who the QB is and stays HEALTHY. Meanwhile, when I.R. starts inching his way back to the field, everyone starts salivating, “…when Howard is HEALTHY…” and “he’s got such POTENTIAL!” and “he showed flashes before he got hurt.”

    I.R. Howard is what I call an “Airport Football Player.” If you saw him in the airport, you’d nudge your friend and say, “I think that guy plays football.”

  16. JimmyJack Says:

    He “needed” Gronk to come in and take the load off of him? I cant assume much from that expect that O.J. cant handle the role of TE in this offense. That comment dont sound like an football player. Comes across more as pansy to me………Ill hold my breathe on ripping into O.J. too bad. Something tells me the Brady effect will get to him and he could have a big year.

    And I really liked the O.J. pick because they said he was a ferocious blocker coming out of the draft. That prooved to be BS.

  17. crazybucs_CL Says:

    ..^^^^ trade him… as soon as possible, while he is not injured….
    they got him as best available on draft, D Koetter pick, they missed; so what, cut the losses.. trade him. Compare him with 2019 draft pick Devin White, what a big hit we got with DW…

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    I literally didn’t hear a peep about OJ having an issue with Gronk, sounds like a made up narrative. Also, OJ is smart enough to know, even if he had a problem with Gronk, to keep his mouth shut, it would be a no win situation to discuss it, even with your mother.

  19. donald gilpin Says:

    OJ will be just fine You people that say trade him are dead wrong! He was blocking more than anything. And yes he is only avg at that But you will see I bet he has a great year if healthy I know football I see a very good TE in OJ

  20. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    He’s a little too entitled for me. He’s not quite “all hat and no cattle”, but close.

  21. Buc A+ Says:

    Better look back at 2020 highlights and observe the chemistry tween Brady and OJ. They were connecting and OJ was balling.