Rob Gronkowski has been one of the NFL’s most dominant forces since he came in the league in 2010 as one of the most unique physical forces at tight end the league’s ever seen.
In his career he’s caught 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns, becoming a favorite target for Tom Brady and, at his peak, was about as uncoverable as any pass catcher in the NFL. However, over that nine year career he’s taken a beating and suffered a number of serious injuries that have either kept him off the field or lingered to hamper his effectiveness while on it.
Still, he was once again a key member of the Patriots’ Super Bowl winning squad this year, with six catches for 87 yards in the 13-3 win over the Rams. That will be the final game of Gronkowski’s career, as after a couple years of speculation he could call it quits, he announced his official retirement from the NFL on Instagram on Sunday.
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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.
Gronk will be in Canton soon enough, as he’s one of the defining players of the last decade and boasts some of the best numbers of any tight end in league history. As for what’s next, at 30 and a cult hero in Boston and beyond you can bet to see him pop up plenty in off field ventures, likely including some work on movies as he’s dipped his toe into the acting pool before and potentially a turn in the squared circle as a wrestler.