FOXBORO, Mass. — Tight end Ben Watson is reportedly returning to his roots in Foxboro just months after announcing his retirement in December.

ESPN insider Adam Schefter reports Watson is close to signing a one-year, $3 million deal with New England, becoming the team's most experienced tight end sans Rob Gronkowski, who made public his NFL departure in March.

In Gronkowski's void, Watson will lead a New England TE squad consisting of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo and Andrew Beck — ages 26, 26, 26, 23 and 22, respectively.

At 38, Watson is only three years younger than Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, 41, with whom he won Super Bowl XXXIX during the 2004-05 season. If the deal goes through and Brady is able to reconnect with Watson this season, it would undoubtedly be the oldest QB-TE combo the league's ever seen.

In six seasons with New England – one of which, his rookie year, only included one game – and including postseason, Watson amassed 2,297 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns on 186 catches in 80 games.

Watson was pick No. 32, 11 selections after Vince Wilfork, in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Vince-Wilfork_Ben-Watson_Patriots
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, left, first round draft picks Vince Wilfork and Ben Watson, second from right, and Patriots vice chairman Jonathan Kraft, right, pose at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., Thursday, April 29, 2004. Wilfork is a defensive tackle from the University of Miami, and Watson is a tight end from the University of Georgia.
AP Photo/Julia Malakie