Patriots four-time All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from football via social media Sunday evening.
Despite playing a mere nine seasons in the league, at the age of the 29 Gronkowski walks away from the gridiron as arguably the greatest tight end to ever play the game.
Known simply as Gronk to most of the football world, he joined the Patriots as a second-round pick out of Arizona in 2010. After putting up impressive numbers with 42 catches and 10 touchdowns as a rookie, Gronkowski broke out a year later with 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and a league-high 17 touchdowns.
Though he dealt with a large number of injuries over the years, including multiple back surgeries, a twice-broken arm and a torn ACL, Gronkowski put up huge numbers when he was on the field earning five trips to the Pro Bowl.
He finishes his career with 100 starts in 115 games played, tallying 521 catches for 7,861 yards (15.1 avg.) with 79 touchdowns.
Though his final season saw his most modest production – he tied a career-low with three touchdowns in 13 games played – Gronkowski came up huge in the postseason as both a blocker and a receiver. He made critical receptions late in both the AFC title game win in Kansas City and the Super Bowl LIII victory over the Rams that keyed New England’s run to a sixth Lombardi Trophy.
Now that Gronkowski has walked away – to a post-football life that might just include work in the entertainment industry – his next stop will be inductions into both the Patriots Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
From his impact catches and dominant blocks to his fun-loving personality and earth-shaking spikes, Gronkowski will go down as one of the most talented, unique, productive and enjoyable players to ever wear a Patriots uniform.