The football party is officially over for Rob Gronkowski. After for nearly a month, Gronk has made the decision to retire.
The Patriots tight end made the somewhat surprising announcement in a lengthy Instagram post where he thanked multiple people.
“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,” Gronk wrote. “I will be retiring from the game of football today.”
Gronk had thought about retiring after the 2017 season, but after mulling it over for nearly two months, he decided to play one more season, which ended up being a struggle for the 6-foot-6 tight end. In 2018, Gronk put up some of the worst numbers of his career while battling through multiple injuries that caused him to miss a total of three games. The Patriots tight end caught just three touchdown passes during the regular season, which tied a career-low.
That being said, Gronk will absolutely be going out on top. Although he had a rough regular season, Gronk ended up playing a key role in the Patriots’ playoff run that ended with the team beating the Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII.
In the Super Bowl win, Gronk caught six passes for 87 yards, including a 29-yard reception in the second half that will go down as the final catch of his career. The fourth quarter reception gave the Patriots the ball at the Rams’ 2-yard line, leading to the only touchdown of the game for either team.
During his nine-year career, Gronk won a total of three Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. He was also voted to the Pro Bowl in five of his nine seasons in the NFL.
Gronk’s career started in 2010 when the Patriots selected him in the second-round of the NFL Draft. Although he only played nine seasons, Gronk should be a shoo-in to reach the Hall of Fame once he’s eligible in five years.
During his career, Gronk made a name for himself by putting up big numbers, by showing off his big touchdown spike and by showing off his big personality. When he wasn’t kicking people out of the club — that’s Gronk speak for pulling off a vicious block — he was breaking NFL record after NFL record.
Not only does he have more Super Bowl receptions than any other tight end in NFL history (23), but he’s also tied for the second-most receiving touchdowns of any player in NFL playoff history (12). When it comes to the postseason, no tight end was better than Gronk, who will finish his career holding the tight end postseason record for most receptions (81), most recieving yards (1,163) and most recieving touchdowns (12).
Not to mention, Gronk will also finish his career with the most receiving yards per regular season game (68.4) of any tight end in NFL history. Gronk’s career will end with 521 catches for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdown receptions.
In his retirement announcement, Gronk thanked both Robert Kraft and Patriots coach Bill Belichick for taking a chance on him.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010,” Gronk wrote. “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.”
Gronk also made sure to thank everyone who appreciated him for his party-loving personality.
“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,” Gronk wrote. “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.”