Veteran New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has announced his retirement.
Gronkowski, whose potential retirement has been the subject of a great deal of speculation for more than a year, confirmed on Instagram today that he is calling it a career.
It ends the career of one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history. The 6-foot-6, 268-pound Gronkowski was a member of three Super Bowl champions with the Patriots and was a five-time Pro Bowler.
It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.
Gronkowski, who will turn 30 in May, competed in the NFL for nine seasons after playing collegiately at Arizona. He produced 47 receptions for 682 yards and three touchdowns for the World Champion Patriots in 2018. He punctuated that season with six catches for 87 yards in the Patriots’ triumph in Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams.
Gronkowski’s retirement leaves a big hole in the Patriots’ offense. And it also leaves a bigger hole in the NFL, which just lost one of its greatest players in history.
It’s no surprise that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady provided a heartfelt response in his tweet after he learned of his teammate’s retirement.
What an honor and privilege to play with you these past nine years @gronk! You accomplished so much and our team was almost unbeatable when you were on the field! Your fun-loving, inspiring, and positive energy made an impact on everybody you came into contact with! Not just that, but for as great as a player you are, you are a better teammate and person. The NFL was a better place with you in it! But I have no doubt you will be a success in anything you do!!! Love you pal!