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Rob Gronkowski announces his retirement

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Patriots four-time All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from football via social media Sunday evening.

View this post on Instagram

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.

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

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.

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